7. Sustainable Families, The Fabric Of Sustainable Societies

Families — The Sustainers Of Our Species, And The Fountainhead Of Communities, Societies, And Civilization

The question this chapter will answer in part is this, “What can we do to create the family as a major contributor to the centuries-long sustainability of a democratic nation?”

Families are the bridgehead for the development of sustainable communities and societies. It is from families that citizens, leaders and executives, ingenious inventors and developers, and the vast sea of capable and competent workers originate. “As the family goes, so goes society.” 14 To ignore the family as the fountainhead of societies is to ignore the potential possible longevity of societies and nations. Recognizing that families provide the potential for societies’ existence is essential to the good health of both.

When the family, family clinics, and public education provide children with their coordinated enculturation and education, those social institutions have made a socially sustaining investment in the present generation and future generations. In a society that has chosen to move toward peace and stability, the family with public education has a moral obligation and responsibility to the future generations of a democratic nation to educate and enculturate each new generation to support the development of social sustainability of the family and of all organizations. Public education is also co-responsible with the family, (parents), for the continued socialization of each and every generation so that they become socially competent, responsible, and capable. To do this, the work of the family and public education must be complemental and continuing until the child has completed his or her public education.

Clinics 15 for  Sustainable  Families

A new social institution. To fulfill the possibility of democratic societies becoming stable, peaceful, and eventually socially sustainable, a new social institution is needed that trains and enculturates each new generation with the best practices of conscious and sustainable child rearing and parenting. Though one generation may learn these skills and pass them on to their children, there is no assurance that over generations those best practices will be retained. Because these skills are learned and not hereditary, they need to be intentionally refreshed in each new generation.

Because the seven values are permanently innate to our DNA and underwrite all human motivation, people have an almost intuitive awareness of what will help fulfill their needs. And, because Clinic Programs are created using these values as the criteria for their design, we can anticipate that people who are preparing to raise a family or already have children will be attracted to Clinic programs.

The mission of Clinics for Sustainable Families is to provide a permanent resource in each community for that service just as there are public schools in every community. Its interest is in the enculturation of socially sustainable child rearing and parenting practices. The work of the Clinics is to support the capability of caring and nurturing parents who are interested in their children growing into socially competent, responsible, and resourceful adults. Because the mission of the Clinics is to bring about social stability and eventually social sustainability without a religious, political, cultural, or ethnic bias, the work of the Clinics could be easily adopted by any social institution, organization, or agency with the altruistic mission to uplift the social condition of individuals, families, and communities.

NOTE: Simply by substituting the name of your altruistic organization for the word “Clinic” in the text you will find that this paper can be applied to churches, counseling centers, spiritual centers, and many others. These materials do not prescribe a certain position or allegiance, but are neutral for the benefit of everyone.

The social benefit of these programs will become apparent when we see their effectiveness for more than one generation: Parents will have confidence for raising their children who become happier, more contented, and socially responsible. The family wins because the dynamics of the family are functional and constructive. The community and the larger society win because its citizens provide a more stable social existence. And lastly, society and all organizations are provided with future generations of socially functional decision-makers who are capable of devising options, choices, decisions, and courses of implementation that support families and communities.

Clinics for Sustainable Families, Epigenesis, and Social Transcendence

If we view the work of Jared Diamond as being applicable to our contemporary cultures, societies, and nations, then we are witnessing their social, political, economic, ethical, and moral decline. We are witnessing firsthand the repeat of history, except this time we are witnessing OUR societies in decline.

Though we are very aware of the problems of our cities, societies, politics, and governments, those problems are actually observable symptoms of societal decline. We are also witnessing the distancing of organizations and their executives from those problems and their resolution, and that too, is a symptom of social, moral, and ethical decline that will bring about the eventual collapse of our nations and societies. The existing social-societal, political-governmental, and financial-economic structures are broken and incapable of healing themselves, let alone creating a sustaining system of those structures.

The phrase from the title of this section, “…And Social Transcendence,” suggests that there is a potential solution in mind. As fixing the problems of our existent societies is not possible, we must create solutions that will empower our societies to adapt to changing conditions to transcend the causes of societal failure.

Actually creating a solution we can live with is not as impossible as it may seem: We must create the social epigenesis of positive and constructive influences in the whole of every democratic society so that the daily decisions by increasing numbers of citizens work together for the greater good of all.

Teaching socially sustainable decision-making. If we are to create a culture change that supports democratic societies and cultures to become socially sustainable in terms of centuries and millennia, then we must begin by teaching our children how to make decisions using the seven values that have sustained our species for thousands of generations.

Teaching parents and their children how to use these values is one of several approaches to create a social holism of all social institutions and organizations. To “bend the culture” toward social stability, peace, and social sustainability we must begin in the cycle of our current generation and each new generation. If we are to create a culture change that provides for the safe social evolution of democratic societies, humbly it must begin within families, with parents, their socialization and the enculturation of each new generation.

Best Practices Of Child Rearing And Parenting

Discovering and using the best practices of child rearing and parenthood would go far to produce children who grow into adulthood as socially responsible and competent citizens, innovators, leaders, and decision-makers. Raising such children is not a miracle but the result of conscientiously applying the best practices of child rearing and parenting that include training of the morality and ethic that are inherent in the seven values of our species.

Best practices of parenting and child rearing teach and train children how to become adults who are socially competent, capable, responsible, and at peace within themselves and with others. Best practices address the intra-personal relationship of the child with him or her self, and the inter-personal relationship of the child with other people. Most social dis-ease has its origins within individuals who are not at peace in who and what they are. Typically, today, most people are completely unconscious of their dis-ease with themselves. As a society, this can only be overcome through a society-wide program of teaching each generation how to raise newborns into infants into children then young adults who are at peace within themselves. Only then will societies have the capability of achieving social, political, and economic stability and peace.

Among every generation of people around the world there are many who have become well adjusted, functionally social, contented, and curious from having been raised by caring and loving parents who somehow knew what to do to raise their children that way. I truly believe that the wisdom of sound child rearing and parenting practices already exists but simply needs to be discovered, collected, organized, collated, and made assertively available on line to teach parents how to use those best practices. Doing so would have a profound effect on the civility of our communities and societies, our politics and government operation, as well as financial and economic equity.

Perhaps the most convincing evidence of successful child rearing and parenting skills is in the lives of well adjusted adults in hundreds of cultures around the world — evidence that is waiting to be revealed in field research and a survey of social science research studies.

Though there already exist many parenting and child rearing books, manuals, and articles, none are validated by the seven values. Discovering and validating the best practices of child rearing using those values would result in a universal parenting guide that would be applicable to all people of all races, ethnic groups, cultures, religions, and political preferences, without the inherent bias and self-interest of those groups. A universal, multi-cultural guide of those “best practices” would help new parents in all nations raise their children without guessing or assuming they already knew.

Best Practices Inquiry

Before we begin our field research and social science literary research projects, we will need to understand the seven values that have sustained our species for over 8,000 generations because those values provide the criteria for assessing whether “best” practices are in alignment with sustainable human social existence. Because these values are organic to all people of all races, ethnicity, cultures, genders, and nationalities, we can anticipate best practices will be evident in every culture.

Our field research project will begin by asking individuals if they know of someone who seems to be relatively happy with their life, and also socially responsible, competent, and capable. From those, we will strive to discover the practices their parents and grandparents used that gave them their social competency. The range of people we will be interviewing will include verbal children through the elderly, all genders, occupations, educated and illiterate, all social status, the wealthy and poor, the very spiritual, those who are culturally broad or narrow, intelligent or not, emotionally well balanced, mentally stable, and of every physical condition.

What and What. We will want to know WHAT they were taught, and WHAT methods their parents used to teach them those skills.

Our inquiry will also ask individuals what practices were not helpful, or were counter-productive for the development of a socially responsible person. “What practices did your parents (or other parental figure) use that you would not use with your own children and not recommend to others?”

We will also want to question those individuals who consciously chose to become well adjusted in spite of their parent’s erroneous and detrimental parenting and child rearing practices. These are unique individuals who early in their life discerned how they were being raised was wrong, and then chose a course in life that brought them into social maturity, competency, and responsibility. I personally have known children who at age nine made that decision and kept the vision of how they would eventually parent and raise their own children.

Where Biologic Epigenesis Comes Into Play

Biologic epigenesis is no longer a theory but a well documented explanation that significant influences upon a child before birth, after birth, and after the child’s early developmental stage of growth are “written” into the child’s DNA. These influences affect the child unconsciously so that he or she behaves in ways throughout the remainder of their life that are consistent with those early influences. Some influences are positive to help the child in his or her adult life, and some are not.
 
Because of epigenesis, a transgenerational dividend will be paid when generations of children have had the benefit of being raised with the best practices of parenting and child rearing. That payment will become apparent in the results of those children’s lives and careers as they carry those best practices and values with them into their places of employment, where they volunteer, into their professional careers, as they become parents, and as they become the planners and decision-makers of the organizations that support their community and society.

Biologic epigenesis of the best parenting practices and the values of our species for decision -making will unconsciously support the development of rational and logical plans, option-development, choice-making, decision-making, and implementation-actions of the decision-makers of the future. When those who have been raised with those values and practices become the decision-makers in the three most significant social structures of functional societies, (social-societal, political-governmental, and economic-financial), their decisions will result in a democratic nation’s social evolution. Such a development would provide the best outcome for our human (humane) existence expressed in the form of social stability, social equity, social justice, “what is fair,” and the common good.

Children raised with best practices of child rearing, who later become the planners, decision-makers, and implementers of those decisions, will be well prepared to understand how their decision-making preserves the strategic best interests of their communities and societies. Doing so, their societies and their organizations will become sustainable into a far distant future.

Where  Social Epigenesis  Comes  Into  Play, And “Transcending The Failed History Of All Societies”

Readers may find it very odd in a paper about the programs of Clinics for Sustainable Families to now read about “transcending the failed history of all societies.” Yet, when the topics of this paper are considered together, a very lucid and insightful thought becomes apparent that would aid the social evolution of every democratic society, while at the same time aiding the social stability of families and communities; and prevent the obvious and eventual failure of those same democratic societies.
 
As mentioned in previous articles, the social history of all humankind, of every culture and civilization, is littered with failure after failure. 16 None have survived functionally intact, though evidence of their past glory remains. In the great arc of existence they seem to have risen out of nowhere, bloomed, crested, declined, collapsed, and disappeared into the archeological detritus.

Asking the question, “Why did they fail?” would give us quite a long list of factors that contributed to their failure, but the most insightful revelation is not what they did to fail, but what they did not do to assure their continued longevity: None devised a vision, intention, operating philosophy, mission(s), or an organizational learning system to become self-sustaining into a long and distant future. They simply came into existence, then assumed their existence was enough proof to assure them that doing the same would guarantee their existence into the future.

Becoming more powerful, with bigger armies, dominating evermore cultures, and enjoying the prosperity of those times were sufficient evidence to consider anything else as absurd. Yet, our nations today are in the very same situation. The error of all past and present societies and civilizations is that they assume their existence is permanent, rather than planning for the possibility of their transcendence and seeing ways to assure they become self-sustaining. It is not enough for individuals or nations to accept what is, but to aspire to what they can become. Because the present always transcends the past, individuals and nations must devise an intention of what they aspire to, and plan to fulfill their transcendence of the present. Only with an intention, operating philosophy, and mission for that intention will they become sustainable.

There is a parallel between biologic epigenesis and social epigenesis that has not yet been explored and will be of immense and historic importance to developed societies.

In biologic epigenesis influences early in life imprint on the DNA of the child to unconsciously affect his or her behavior throughout their life until the child consciously makes a decision concerning his or her behavior. If not, then the imprint will continue in succeeding generations, though fading out with each new generation unless those influences are presented again.

Social epigenesis operates very similarly, but with the social and cultural “DNA” of the whole culture and society. We have seen this with the introduction of electronic technologies since the mid-1980s with personal computers, fax machines, smart phones, the Internet, social media, and many more. They have had an incredible influence that has created social change of exponential dimensions for our cultures and societies.

Imprinting our culture with the influence of electronic technologies has been so subtle that people take the presence of electronics in their lives for granted and make decisions accordingly. We have taken for granted this change in our culture without objection, protest, or obstruction to the point where these technologies are assumed as necessary in almost all aspects of our lives. The influence of these technologies has imprinted itself so completely in our “cultural DNA” that we cannot separate our lives from it.

In this example the influence of computer and Internet technologies came into existence unconsciously and unintentionally and particularly without any awareness of the consequences they would have upon all societies and cultures globally. In the case of social epigenesis and the Clinics for Sustainable Families, we can consciously and intentionally bring positive and constructive influences to bear upon new generations, fully aware that the consequences will be the powerfully constructive transgenerational and transformational culture change for all future generations.

Conclusions

  •  Families are the foundation of all societies and civilizations.
     
  •  Families are sustainable without societies, nations, or civilizations.
     
  •  Societies and nations, however, cannot exist without the presence of families as the source of future generations of leaders, innovators, and decision-makers.
     
  •  Values underlie all decision-making.
     
  •  A holistic set of values underlies the decision-making of our species’ biologic sustainability for over 8,000 generations.
     
  •  Those same values can provide organizations with the same capability of also becoming sustainable – socially sustainable into the centuries ahead.
     
  •  For societies to achieve that stage, societies must actively implement policies that support the family to produce the leaders, innovators, and decision-makers who have the competence to support the transcendent interests of that nation and society.
     
  •  The social mechanism for generating functional, healthy families is Clinics for Sustainable Families in all local communities, similarly as there are local community public education schools.
     
  •  The skills of successful child rearing and parenting are known that enculturate and socialize children to become socially responsible and socially competent adults. Teaching these skills and knowledge to each new generation is as necessary for the development of social stability and peace as language and mathematic skills are necessary for the development of commercial, governmental, and economic progress and growth.
     
  •  Effective parenting skills are eventually lost over generations without a conscious and intentional effort to pursue a continuing course of improvement. The Clinic’s permanent presence is necessary so that child rearing and parenting skills are reinforced with each generation of children, who eventually become parents.
     
  •  The permanent presence of Clinics in local communities will give democratic nations and societies the capability to transcend the limitations of all prior societies.
     
  •  The presence of Clinics will require democratic nations to form an intention to become socially sustaining into the distant future. Such an intention must be preceded by a vision for that future, and succeeded by an operational philosophy, and a set of conscious, intentional strategic missions that bring those nations into a socially sustainable future.

An intentional agenda of public social policies that promote social evolution through families via a national network of local community Clinics would go far to develop democratic societies that become sustainably stable and prosperous.

These conclusions recognize that the holism of social existence can only come into being to create a sustainable future when the values that have sustained our species, from the individual and family to the international community of nations, are introduced to children in their earliest ages.


14 Raphael, Daniel 2017 Clinics for Sustainable Families and the Millennium Families Program. Link
15 “Clinics” as used here does not refer to a medical clinic, but to a “training clinic” similar in function to a tennis clinic or other clinic where the intention is to hone the skills of the individual, or family, to become more capable in the use of parenting and child rearing skills.
16 Diamond, Jared 1997 Guns, Germs and Steel — The Fate of Human Societies.. W.W. Norton Co., NY
Diamond, Jared, 2005 Collapse — How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Viking Penguin Group, NY