How do you like this allegory? Once upon a time, there was a wonderful country filled with happy people. It wasn’t perfect, but there was hardly a citizen who’d rather be living somewhere else. Then a wicked and ugly old witch whispered her evil curse over the land. Little by little some children stopped getting educated and grew up illiterate. Some children grew up sullen, surly, and unemployable. Many little girls, even before they grew up, fell victim to overgrown boys of poor character and many little boys grew up to become vicious thugs who enjoyed inflicting violence and pain on other people. Because of these curses, many people suffered from poverty.
One day it happened that a beautiful good witch took pity on the once happy land and gave a priceless present to the people. They gathered around to unwrap the gift. “What could it be?” they asked. Finally, the colorful wrapping was removed and the box was opened. Inside they found a big pot of magic paint. “What do we do with it?” they asked.
The beautiful good witch stood up to explain and everyone listened silently and respectfully. “Paint a small patch of this magic paint upon the right ear of every newborn child,” she instructed. “All children with a small daub of this paint upon their ears will study diligently until they have acquired an excellent education. Every one of these children will be quickly hired by good employers or they will start their own businesses. They will all grow up to be peaceful and law-abiding and they will marry before having children. What is more, they will all prosper financially,” she pronounced. Then, in a cloud of blue smoke, she vanished.
Upon hearing these words, the leaders of this once happy land immediately made it mandatory for every newborn to receive a daub of magic blue paint upon their right ears before leaving the hospital with their mothers. Like vaccinations, the blue patch as it became known, was declared a public health matter and complying was mandatory. Well, it didn’t take much more than about twenty years and the country was again happy. Once again the land was peaceful and filled with productive people. The land returned to harmony, happiness, and prosperity. The End.
Every allegory has a germ of truth in it; that is what makes it an allegory. This one is no exception. There truly is one simple thing that can be done for every newborn which will reduce its chances of poverty by over 85%. That one thing will also increase the probability of the child getting a good education by 220%. Furthermore, that one thing will almost eliminate the likelihood of the child getting into trouble with the law and reduce teenage pregnancy to almost the vanishing point. The good news is that all these wonderful outcomes are almost inevitable if only one thing is done. It doesn’t even involve painting a blue patch on every child’s ear.
The bad news is that the one simple thing that can be done to bring about a wonderful life for every child is to make sure that it is born to a mother who is married to its father and that it is raised in a stable two-parent home. Almost all else follows. Are there exceptions? Yes, sure, just as in any group of 320 million souls, there will be thousands of exceptions to the rule that people have five fingers on each hand. That doesn’t change the truths that most people have ten fingers and that most children raised in stable two-married-heterosexual-parent homes do far better in life than those who weren’t.
For this happy outcome, it is necessary for parents to fulfill their obligations to their children and for children to fulfill their obligations to their parents, chiefly by respecting them in accordance with the fifth of the Ten Commandments.
For that to work, there has to be both a mother and a father. It goes against the grain for most women to insist on honor, even from their children. If men insist on honor from their children, they look like bullying buffoons. There is only one way children can learn to honor their mothers and their fathers: Mom teaches them to respect dad, and he, in turn, demands that they respect and obey their mother. That is why this additional verse emphasizes not just the abstract ‘parents’ but explicitly ‘mother’ and ‘father’.
Each person should revere his mother and his father, and keep my sabbaths,
I, the Lord, am your God.
This verse is not only about honoring our parents. It is also about the 7th day, the Sabbath. In fact, the really interesting thing about this verse is that it actually encapsulates 3 of the Ten Commandments.
Commandment number 5, “Honor your father and your mother…” (Deuteronomy 5:16)
Commandment number 4, “Keep the sabbath day…” (Deuteronomy 5:12)
Commandment number 1, “I am the Lord your God…” (Deuteronomy 5:6)
If you’re lucky enough to receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers you anxiously search for a card that will tell you who sent it to you, its source. If we were merely materialistic beings, all that would matter are the tangible things–the flowers. But as spiritual beings, we recognize the flowers as symbolic of an abstract relationship. We want to know the source.
One of the important ways we retain our cosmic balance in a big and confusing world is by remaining linked to sources. “Who said that?” you ask the person to who spoke a beguiling quote. Does it matter? Yes, sources and origins do matter. “I got this recipe from my mother-in-law.” “You see this hammer? I inherited it from my grandfather.” Genealogy is a growing Internet theme. We all want to know where we came from. One of the terrible curses of that wicked old witch is the large number of Americans who don’t know the name or the whereabouts of their fathers.
Leviticus 19:3 says to revere your mother and your father. Apart from all the good they have done you, they are your source. They are your connection to yesterday. And remember the Sabbath because it too is a reminder to an origin. In six days God created heaven and earth and on the seventh day, He rested. Look around you. Everything you see had an origin and a source. The ultimate origin of all is of course God Himself hence the final phrase of Leviticus 19:3.
But it all starts with having a mother and a father to revere. And making sure that every born child has his and her rightful legacy of a mother and a father is surely the business of anyone who claims to care about people.
It is not about protests, it is about parents. If you care about people suffering from poverty, make sure every child is born to a married mother and father. If you care about violent crime, do everything you can to ensure that every child is born to a married mom and dad. If you care about educational failure and want to stop multi-generational dysfunction, end the curse of children growing up without fathers.
It is shockingly hypocritical for elected lawmakers and officials, community leaders and activists (What are they? Who pays you to become a community activist?) to blame loudly for society’s problems everything imaginable except the one major cause; the cataclysmic failure of marriage and family.
We don’t need blue paint patches. What we need are influential people courageous enough to stigmatize publicly women, no matter how rich and famous, who have child after child without being married. We need brave voices to condemn and marginalize men who impregnate women and then walk away. America learned to stop smoking and it learned not to drink and drive. In a frighteningly short three months, America learned to distance and wear masks. Why can’t it learn that letting a helpless child tumble into the world without a mother and a father is terrible for the child, terrible for society, and just plain wrong?
Promoting culture and government policies that destroy the traditional family has not led to greater happiness and prosperity. We have become afraid to proclaim that success is grounded in the Source, our Creator. Our mission is to share the Bible and ancient Jewish wisdom, the blueprint that lays out what leads a society to thrive or to shrivel. Our costs have increased, and on July 1, most of our prices will rise. This week is a great chance to stock up before that takes effect.