This is hardly the golden age of good parenting. We have parents bribing their kids into college. We have parents using their kids as weapons in the culture war. We have parents turning their job over to screens.
Of course, the 1950s—indeed no era—was as idyllic as nostalgia makes it out to be, but still few would argue that we’ve finally gotten it together as a society. Few can convincingly argue that our kids are being raised in a perfect world.
But here’s the thing: None of that matters. None of that changes your job.
Our job, the Stoics say, no matter what other people say or do, is to be good. It’s to be good to our children. To provide for them. To provide a good example. To prepare them as best we can.
What other parents do, what’s happening in the world, all that is background noise. All of that is outside our control. What’s up to us is that our home is an exception. That we create a safe place amidst the craziness—a place of love and happiness and learning and encouragement and duty.
And if we can each do that…well, maybe we can leave our children’s children a slightly less imperfect work.