I Propose A Separation of Politics and Parenting

Normally, I try to keep my political opinions to myself. Maybe its training, as a Democrat living in the Midwest, I’m pretty familiar with the sensation of biting my own tongue. In general though, I think that most people really want to make the country a better place, we just don’t always agree on how to get there. Politics are personal and often touchy. So instead of arguing fiscal policy and donating my time to political campaigns, I try to be an active citizen by volunteering at the Parks & Rec department.

I appreciate and applaud those who are active in the political world though! That is, I like them until something like this happens. Florida recently rejected federal funding for a child abuse prevention program, because it was tied in with the Afforadable Health Care Act. I don’t mind political activism until its theories and philosophies hinder those who are triyng to do real good in our communities. The program that was defunded when Florida turned away federal money is called Healthy Families Florida. This program, one that serves as a model for abuse prevention programs all over the country, sends registered nurses to at-risk homes for parenting lessons. Based on questionairre answers from the hospital, the nurses make home visits and help educate new parents.

Maybe those denying these funds don’t realize that not every pregnant woman is diving into What To Expect When You’re Expecting and reading hundreds of consumer reviews before she picks the perfect stroller. Plenty of inner-city and lower income mothers don’t have the knowledge base to correctly raise their kids. They don’t know the importance of proper nutrition, safe sleep and emotional nourishment. They haven’t seen effective parenting before and therefore have no model to base off of. This type of mom needs information desperately if she wants to raise a happy and healthy child. Healthy Families Florida provided it to at-risk homes. Without that service, we leave the most vulnerable among us in unsure hands.

I propose a separation of politics and parenting. When it comes to caring for our children, we should all be able to agree that the more information, the better. Villages don’t raise children anymore, individuals do. And if you aren’t volunteering to help new moms and dads learn about their new responsibilities, then I don’t want to hear that its not the government’s job to teach these parents. Someone has to.

My heart aches for the wonderful people at Healthy Families Florida. I hope that people can put aside their partisanship and agree that at-need children are just a little more important than political posturing.

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