Strong families make for a strong nation.
As well as being a great source of joy, family life underpins our society. In the family, care and love are embodied, and resources are shared freely. The state should not seek to supplant the fundamental role of the family in bringing up children and should refrain from interfering in family life. Instead, the state should be supporting families to enable them to provide for themselves, structure their family life according to their priorities, and bring up their children according to their values.
We value parenthood. Bringing new life into the world and then caring for and nurturing children as they grow into adulthood is one of life’s noblest endeavours. It is of immeasurable value to society and this huge contribution should be recognised by the state. Our culture should also honour and celebrate parenthood as a high calling, instead of glorifying career and diminishing the value of home life.
Of course, fulfilling, purposeful and valuable paths through life don’t have to involve bringing up children, and our experiences of relationships and family life don’t always work out the way we hoped. However, that doesn’t detract from the central importance of family life to society.
Scotland faces many apparently intractable problems: poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, youth mental health issues, cycles of crime. Family breakdown fuels these and many more problems. It’s not the whole story but promoting family stability is a policy avenue that needs to be explored. It would pay dividends out of all proportion to the costs. Prevention is better than cure.