I have two images of Jesus in my mind as I read The War Against Parents, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornel West, and Alex Molnars Giving Kids the Business. One is the Jesus that we see in so many pictures-his arms around children, welcoming and loving them with his smile and eyes. The other is Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem with an almost despairing droop to his shoulders. Then the pictures get mixed up, one superimposed over the other: Jesus reaching for the children, wanting to encircle them and protect them, and weeping very real tears as so many of his little ones and their families are slipping away.
What is happening to children and families in our culture? Both of these books have some answers to that question. Both in some respects are difficult to read because they present vivid realities that we would rather overlook.
The War Against Parents is a strong, disturbing statement about what is happening to parents in the United States. The authors draw on their own life experiences as well as their finely developed social analyses to illuminate in a clear and compelling way what exactly is happening to families today. Refreshingly, they do not jump on the "blame parents" bandwagon. Instead, they argue, children need the protective armor provided both by parents and the larger community, which unfortunately has failed miserably in its responsibility.