Time to Flourish: On the Center for Public Justice's New Paid Family Leave Report

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By Matthew Loftus

July 23, 2018

Read the full story in Mere Orthodoxy

If there is anything that the recent political sturm und drang about family separation at the border has emphasized, it is the undeniable sanctity of the family—at least in the political imaginary. The idea that the state might separate children from their parents for a misdemeanor border crossing has caused outrage because it is outrageous; it cuts at the fundamental understanding of what we instinctively know about the value of the parent-child relationship and the necessity of the family bond for human flourishing.

The dramatic response from activists, politicians, and the populace at large reflects the concern that is fundamental to our human nature and observable in social science: children need their parents to be present in their lives to nurture, support, and (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) nourish them.

The political crisis at the border was occasioned by a quick and extreme change in policy and thus provoked an appropriately loud outcry. But less interest is raised when the bond between children and their parents is eroded in more subtle ways—all the more so when other bonds (such as caring for sick relatives) are involved. The argument of the Center for Public Justice’s new report Time to Flourish: Protecting Families’ Time For Work and Care (part of their Families Valued initiative) is just this: that ever since the Industrial Revolution, our culture of work has steadily and quietly been making it harder and harder for families to care for one another and that we cannot expect families to flourish unless there is adequate time for them to do so, together. The report is fundamentally focused on the policy of paid family leave, but its authors (Christianity Today’s Katelyn Beaty and the Center for Public Justice’s Rachel Anderson) are careful to set this issue in a broader context and discuss its importance for all different classes of parents.

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Chelsea Maxwell