All good parents are committed to seeking the best for their children, and in the crucial days of the presidential nominating process, many of us are turning our eyes to the years ahead.
What will the future look like for our children?
Though candidates and voters may have different perspectives on the specifics of achieving a positive future, one thing remains certain: Children need their parents.
The overwhelming majority know that parental involvement in the lives of children makes a key difference when it comes to their healthy development, education and positive life choices. In particular, home-school families know firsthand the impact of strong parental involvement in the lives of children.
Few dispute the vital role of parents in raising the next generation, but, regrettably, few recognize that the fundamental role of parents is under direct attack.
It's possible that in the near future, the United States may significantly weaken the rights of parents to raise their children. Crucial decisions that parents are accustomed to making, such as what our children read, who they associate with, what kind of discipline is used, whether we take them to church, or whether we home-school, all become decisions for the state if the United States ratifies the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
This frightening scenario could be just around the corner. It's not as far-fetched as we may believe. The UNCRC, after being approved by the Clinton administration in February 1995, was then sent to the Senate.
In the mid-'90s, the UNCRC was opposed by a core group of senators and stopped. The treaty still can be ratified, however, since we do not know who will control the Congress and the presidency in the future.
Many parents are completely unaware of the hazards lurking within the words of this treaty. Wrapped neatly within its positive phrases and child-focused language is a dangerous disregard for the vital role parents play in the lives of their children.
By allowing the government to define and determine what is in the "best interests of the child," outside the context of abuse and neglect cases, the UNCRC in effect diminishes the parental role, replacing it with government supervision.
If this treaty is made binding upon our country, government officials could be advancing their definition of the "best interests" of your child — even if it means overriding some of our parental choices.
Since the U.S. Constitution makes treaty provisions binding on the nation, the only way to defend against the UNCRC, if it's ratified, is to amend the Constitution.
To this end, the Home School Legal Defense Association is actively supporting ParentalRights.org, a new grass-roots movement of concerned parents across the nation. ParentalRights.org is an organization dedicated to ensuring the long-term security of the child-parent relationship.
The ultimate goal, however, of ParentalRights.org is to secure a constitutional amendment that will preserve and protect the rights of parents.
The parental rights amendment does not add to or change current parental rights — it only protects the rights parents presently possess, ensuring that those rights will not be weakened or devalued.
The amendment would ensure that, even if the UNCRC is ratified, your parental rights would still be protected. If you would like to read more about your parental rights and why they need to be protected, visit www.ParentalRights.org.
As the new year gets under way, many of us are thinking about the future of our families. The safeguarding of parental rights is vital to the future of our nation because of the role parents play in the lives of their children is one that no government official ever could replace.
Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at 540/338-5600; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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