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HAGELIN: Parents shouldn’t let kids drink liberals’ Kool-Aid

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Culture Challenge of the Week: The left's assault on our children.

Kool-Aid. It conjures up contradictory images. On one hand, it brings to mind thirsty gulps, drink-stained lips and happy children. On the other, it suggests the shadow of the Jonestown massacre, where cult leader Jim Jones killed hundreds of his followers, including children, by spiking their sugary drinks with poison. It tasted good going down, but led to inevitable death.

These days, too many of our children are drinking a different kind of spiked Kool-Aid. And it's being served to them by unwitting educators, dysfunctional celebrities, government leaders and the whole of pop culture.

What's in the Kool-Aid? The sweet flavor of unrestrained sexual pleasure (Consequences? What consequences?), the languid taste of easy government money ("They better not cut my benefits ... or grants ... or services") and the invigorating rush of "personal autonomy" ("I can make my own decisions. Who needs parents? Or God?").

Our children are swallowing it in gulps, as they listen attentively to classroom lessons that denigrate capitalism, watch "family" shows on television that feature gender-bending characters, and listen to iPods that spew filthy words and perverted images. Undiscriminating, they slurp down the cultural flavors. But dire consequences lie just ahead for our children, unless we act now.

I just finished reading a hard-hitting new book, "Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on our Families, Faith and Freedom," that's a must-read for all parents who love their children. Written by the witty and insightful Marybeth Hicks, a Washington Times columnist and mother of four, the book delivers a devastating critique of our culture — and some solid ideas about how to turn things around.

Compelling and fast-moving, "Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid" sounds the alarm about the liberals' aggressive assault on morals, the free market and the family — a campaign that's steamrolling ahead under the Obama administration. The left is driving hard to redefine what it means to be human — to normalize behavior such as homosexuality, promiscuity and abortion, that damages society as much as it injures the soul, psyche and body of the person engaging in it.

In her book, Mrs. Hicks lays out a dismaying — shocking, really — array of examples that show how the left is "shaping our kids into a generation completely ignorant of the principles that have made America the extraordinary nation it is." In their "pursuit of the liberal utopia," the liberal Kool-Aid distributors are "toppling the three-legged stool on which our nation rests: religion, the traditional family and free-market capitalism."

Like Kool-Aid that spoils the appetite for wholesome food, the left's agenda "inculcates our children with the beliefs, attitudes and opinions that will predispose them to a socialist America." Worse, the left serves a poisonous substitute: an "alternative core belief system" of "secular progressive collectivism — with all its attendant moral relativism and political correctness."

Parents — indeed, all of us who care about children — need to put a stop to this. And nothing short of a "recalibration" of each child's moral compass will solve the problem.

How to Save Your Family: Read "Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid"

Her book's goal, Mrs. Hicks says, is first, "to convince you that leftists in positions of power and influence over our children are seriously undermining the values and virtues essential to our national character and to American citizenship."

But second, it's a call to action for each one of us to "offer more of what is right," by paying greater attention to our children's moral development instead of focusing, in a short-sighted way, on grades, achievements and social skills. Developing moral character is hard — hard work for parents and children alike. But it's a task we dare not neglect.

Mrs. Hicks provides the concrete suggestions and impassioned encouragement parents need: We are the ones who can — and must — instill virtue in our children. Our work begins by protecting our children from unhealthy and corrupting influences. And it succeeds when we — parents, grandparents and like-minded families — teach our children to believe in God, work hard to develop strong character and proudly profess heartfelt patriotism and commitment to our exceptional American freedoms.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

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