Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Why We Should Put Our Children First

Category: Child Care


In a recent book authored by children's author, Marian Wright Edelman, entitled The Measure of Our Success, A Letter to My Children and Yours, Ms. Edelman expresses her disappointment in the United States' lack of putting our children first. She is the president and founder of The Children's Defense Fund which is a human rights group seeking to put children first. She is the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She has been a sincere child advocate and has worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics in several other child rights advocacy groups for health access changes and several other changes to improve the lives of young people in our society. Her book "The Measure of Our Success" is built around her personal letters to her three sons, which she calls her 25 "lessons for life". There are other chapters about herself and her background. There are also some other chapters dealing strictly with her political views and her hope for a better society which will put children first.

Ms. Edelman tells her sons there is no free lunch, "You must work hard to gain anything in life. You must treat others as you would like to be treated". She tells her sons that they are never alone, that by working together great things can be accomplished.

Ms. Edelman quotes from many great southern black teachers as well as other races and religions including Ghandi, Einstein and the modern poet Shel Silverstein. One of her quotes is "If the Soviet people and Gorbachof could dismantle Communism, why can't Americans envision and wage war against child neglect, poverty and family disintegration which are greater threats to our national future than nuclear weapons".

Throughout Ms. Edleman's book, she emphasizes the importance of parents taking the responsibility to actively nurture their children. She talks about the importance of young men being sexually responsible and parents loving their children unconditionally and teaching them by good modeling.

Ms. Edelman has several strong quotes including some on political ideas. She asks "why we can afford the Persian Gulf war, and the savings and loan bail out and can't afford child care for working families. Why can't we mobilize doctors, teachers and social workers to fight the tyranny of poverty and child neglect and abuse. She closes by saying "We must care for our young. We must seek fairness and opportunity for every American". I have heard Mrs. Edleman speak several times at the American Academy of Pediatrics conventions and believe she has a lot of wisdom in her book. I recommend we all, as caring individuals, get more involved in the goals she stresses to truly put our children first.