American Voices

“The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will never be enough.” 

Lyndon Baines Johnson


“We cannot afford any longer to bury our heads in the sand. We do know what to do. Can we create the national will to do it?”

T. Berry Brazelton
Harvard Medical School

“The disintegration of America, from within, is well on its way.”

Urie Bronfenbrenner, 2000. Professor, Cornell University
Co-founder of Head Start

“Evidence is building that if we fail to love and nurture our children we are not only condemning our children to a bleak future, but we are destroying the fabric of our society.”

Marian Wright Edelman
Children’s Defense Fund

“The first three years are crucial not only to children, but also to the whole society in which they live, grow, and eventually reproduce.”

Penelope Leach, Ph.D.

“A baby’s developing body and brain reflect, lifelong, the primary emotional-sensory environment. Either love or violence take root in this environment, structuring the developing brain to interpret the world and its relationships as peaceful, pleasurable and loving or hostile, painful and violent depending on trust or anxiety experienced in this first relationship.”

Dr. Michael Mendizza

“Humankind abandoned in the early formative period becomes the worst threat to its own survival. To betray this essential need for nurturing which means loving, pleasurable touch and body contact, especially in males, who are biologically most vulnerable early in life, results in increasing numbers of juvenile and adult males who batter, abuse and rape females, the true source of the nurturing they need. And this cycle of violence spreads throughout society and the world.”

Maria Montessori

“The crucial challenge for educational policymakers is to acknowledge the inevitable role schools play in character development and to consciously decide whether public schools should be doing more to produce men and women worthy of marrying our children and parenting our grandchildren.”

Michael Josephson
The State Education Standard
National Association of State Boards of Education, 2002

“Given the latest findings on brain development, I’d make parent training a mandatory part of the high school curriculum, for boys and girls. This is particularly urgent in light of recent research findings that children’s language, thinking and emotional health are largely formed before age 3 – long before they ever go near a school.”

William Raspberry,
Washington Post columnist, September, 1999

“Current evidence indicates that prevention programs are likely to be most successful if they are concentrated in childhood as primary prevention . . . . Parenting practices appear to play crucial roles in the development of aggressive and violent behavior. Parenting skills are not an innate instinct, but rather learned behavior based on individual parental experience and the personal process of trial and error in raising children. Although positively motivated, many parents do not know how to raise their children effectively.”

Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH, David P. Farrington, Ph.D.

“It has seemed to me that the final test of any civilization is what type of husbands and wives and fathers and mothers does it turn out? Besides the austere simplicity of such a question, every other achievement of civilization—art, philosophy, literature, and material living—pales into insignificance.”

Lin Yutang, Ph.D.
The Importance of Living

“Society must early prepare for parenthood in its children; and it must take care of the unavoidable remnants of infantility in its adults.”

Erik H. Erikson, M.D.
Childhood and Society