Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors and frequent contributors to Meridian. Their landmark new book THE TURNING: Why the State of the Family Matters and what the World can do about it will be published at the end of this month. Go to www.The-Turning.com for further information, samples, and a link to guarantee yourself an early copy by pre-ordering at a discount. On the strength of its pre orders, the book has already reached #2 on Amazon in the category of Marriage and family. You can also join “Team Turning” to become a part of a new pro-family movement. Meridian, beginning on August 25, will run a series of six excerpts from the book.
In this article, prior to five days of excerpts from our new book THE TURNING that Meridian will run next week, we want to explain the “back story” of how and why we wrote the book. The bottom line is that there is a war going on right now, and it pits anti-family forces against parents. On many fronts, it is the anti-family side that is winning.
How do we turn the tide? How do we fortify families? How do we celebrate commitment? How do we popularize parenting? How do we bolster balance? How do we validate values?
For more than three decades, we have been writing and speaking to parents and families around the globe (46 countries at last count) and the disturbing thing is that even as parents try harder and put forth more effort, raising responsible and values-centered children is getting harder and harder.
This is partially because the larger institutions of our society no longer put forth much effort to support the smallest institution of family.
So after thirty years of trying to fight the war for families by arming parents with methods and techniques and ideas for raising kids–and yet still seeing the fight get harder and the tide turn more and more against families; we decided it was time to call out those who are harming the family and undermining parentsto go after those who are intentionally or unintentionally fighting against families.
So what really motivated us to write this new book is that, as we continue to lose this war, it seemed crucial that we change our tacticsthat instead of just re-arming our own troops, we actually start going after the enemy.
That is what we do in THE TURNING. Here is a story to illustrate:
Not long ago, as we were giving a speech at a national convention composed mostly of parents, we asked the audience what they thought was to blame for the increasing break-up of families and the steady decline in family life. They all tended to blame themselves.
“Not spending enough time with my kids.”?”Working too much.”?”Not knowing their friends well enough, or what they watch on TV or what they do online. It’s our fault.”?
We probed further. “Do you really blame yourselves? How many of you think of your family as your highest priority?” Ninety-five percent of the audience raised their hands. “Then why do you let these things happen?”
With that question, the tone of the audience’s responses changed. Hands went up all over the auditorium.
“We don’t let them happen!”
“We don’t choose how long we work . . . or what is put on the Internet . . . or the attitudes our kids pick up from their friends or their school.”
“We’re the victims of itit happens to us.”
“Well, then,” we rephrased the earlier question, “who do we blamewho are the culprits?” Now the audience was releasing themselves from parental guilt, realizing there were new, larger forces causing many of their family problems and undermining their efforts to be good parents to their children. We got answers from the personal to the sweeping.
“It’s my employer.”?”It’s greedy corporate America.”?”It’s the Internet.”?”It’s advertising and instant gratification.” “It’s all the easy credit and debt.” “It’s the schoolswhat they’re teaching and what they’re not teaching.” “It’s the movies and the rap music and the violence and the pornography.”
We made a long list of “culprits” on a big white board and we asked the next question. “What do we do about it?”
“Boycott them.”?”Write our Congressman!”?”Sue them!”?But the answers rang a little hollow. We were all feeling our smallness and inadequacy as parents to fight such big and powerful “culprits.” Then, from a young mother at the back of the hall, came the key answer. She said, “It seems to me that we can blame a lot of these bigger forces, but I doubt we’re going to change them. Maybe if we just see and understand what all these things in our society are doing to our families, we can talk to our kids about them and work out how to use more of the good and avoid more of the bad.”
We agreed with that young mother then, and we agree with her now! The first step to making change is to understand what we are up against. It was really at that moment that we decided to write a book to explain what is happening to families today and how we can make our own family cultures stronger than all of the Internet, media, corporate and peer cultures that try to suck our children away from us.
The next step is to band together more effectively as parentsto realize that we are the biggest special interest group of all but that we don’t seem to have a voice, or a cadre of lobbyists or any kind of a movement to demand that larger institutions start doing more to support the smallest institution of the family.
So the book is just the tip of the iceberga manifesto of sorts that is written to rally the troops, to give parents something meaningful to do on the bigger stage, even as they devote themselves to their own households. Books are limitedthey can put a message out there, but there needs to be a way to follow up and to get those who are interested participating.
That is where www.The-Turning.com comes in. On this website parents can pre-order the book, but they can also join “Team Turning” which will evolve into a strong voice for parents and which will make strong and specific suggestions to the larger parts of our society and our culturewhich used to support familiesand tell them why and how they ought to start doing so again.
Read the excerpts next week here on Meridian. Join Team Turning. Lets turn things around!