Industrial revolution: a revolution of the family

In her recent blog post, A liturgical downer, Brenda linked to the blog of a Benedictine sister: Monastic Musings Too. In her post, Millions of Holy Innocents today, she writes:

Elizabeth Marquardt raised the fundamental question in the title of her ground-breaking report, The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Parents’ Rights and Children’s Needs. Most homilies preached in Catholic Churches today will focus on abortion, in which the lives of millions of children are sacrificed for the needs – and legal rights – of adults. Marquardt’s 44-page monograph provides a larger context which helps to illuminate the political struggles around the issue. She studies the needs of the children in opposition to the desires and rights of parents. How did this opposition come about?

Social scientists place the heart of that change in the Industrial Revolution. Until that time, children were often part of the domestic economy – whether on the farm or in a craft or service occupation or business. From an early age, children participated in the work of the family, both contributing to the family’s livelihood and the learning the myriads of skills they would need as adults. The children of cooks learned to cook; of farmers learned to farm. Children were contributors to the family, and valued.

While I have lately become familiar with the Industrial Revolution as the start of unskilled, unsatisfying work, and also the beginning of consumer debt, I had not yet read anything about this … and it makes so. much. sense. It saddens me that this is the kind of thing that is missing in my life with my children. Since I don’t really have ‘work’, and Brad works in an office, Gwen is bored. There is only so much she can help me with at home – only so many sinks of dishes, only so many times I can make muffins, only so much sweeping to do. Yes, Gwen has toys, and yes she is often content to play with them, but I can just imagine how much more full her life would be if both Brad and I had practical, hands-on, skilled work to do in which she could participate joyfully!

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My son is huge!

Exhibit A:

Gil, shown in "I Love NY" onesie

Gil, shown in "I love NY" onesie, at 3.5 months

Exhibit B:

Gwen, shown in "I love NY" onesie, at 11 months

I’m telling you. He’s big. Probably already 15 lbs, although I’m not entirely sure. And also, who is the cute baby in that second picture and where did she go? Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (5)

Huh! I’ve never thought of it that way …

Check out this post on the difference between a question and  a quiz …

Comments