This week and next, Meridian is running a series of 5 excerpts from the new book THE TURNING, by Richard and Linda Eyre. The Eyres are New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors and frequent contributors to Meridian. Their landmark new book is being published this week. Go to for further information, samples, and a link to order the book at a discount. On the strength of its pre orders, the book has already reached #2 on Amazon in the category of Marriage and family. You can also join to become a part of a new pro-family movement. Today, we present excerpt ONE from the book.
Excerpt One, from Chapter One of The Turning
We are all born into family. And we hope that family will surround us when we exit this world. In between, family provides us with our greatest joys and deepest sorrows. Family has always been our main reference point and the basis for much of our terminology and metaphor.
- In theology, God is father and we are children.
- In history, the past is best understood and connected through extended families.
- In economics, markets and enterprise are driven by family needs, attitudes, and perceptions.
- In education, parents are the most influential teachers, and home environment is the most powerful factor in school success.
- In sociology and anthropology, we conclude that society doesn’t form families; families form society.
- In politics, all issues reduce down to how public policy affects private family.
- In public opinion polls, we reveal that family commitments ex- ceed all other commitments.
- In ethics or morality, family relationships teach the highest forms of selfless and empathetic values. Lack of those com- mitted relationships promotes selfish and antisocial behavior.
- In media, the things that touch us most deeply or offend us most dramatically generally involve family.
- In nature, everything that grows is in a family, and some cultures living closest to nature speak of “mother earth” and “father sky.”
Objectives of the Book
The first objective of this book is not just to teach us how to reprioritize our families-but also to remind us and help us fully understand why we should. We have to understand what is causing the breakdown of families before we can do anything about it. As Clayton Christensen says in the foreword, “Great science simplifies. It proposes not the many things that are correlated to the outcome of interest-instead, it shows us the cause. That is why this book is so important.” Beyond the cause, we will try to explain the importance of combating the problem and of creating family cultures that are stronger than all the other cultures that swirl around our children.
A parent who has contemplated and understood (and felt) the vast importance of family relationships will find his or her own ways to improve them-and there will be different ways for different people. The goal of understanding the “whys” is to motivate parents and grandparents to reprioritize, even re-enshrine, their families; to help their children-and themselves-to be more aware of and then escape the quicksand of the world’s false paradigms and priorities.
But we hope to do even more than that. This book hopes to contribute to a movement, a banner under which people who care about values, who live for their families, who are outraged by forces trying to destroy both-can unite, can support each other, and can reach out to the majority who have been conned into thinking that those who value families are a minority.
As mentioned in the introduction, de Tocqueville said, “If America is ever destroyed, it will be destroyed from within.” It is a forecast that can be applied to the whole developed world. The warning of this book is simple and frightening but by no means new: America’s most basic institution, the family, is breaking down. This breakdown is the direct cause of steep increases in social problems: crime, violence, gangs, teen pregnancy, drugs, poverty, spouse abuse, child abuse, suicide, depression, homelessness, bankruptcies, latchkey kids, juvenile delinquency, school dropouts, declining test scores, and pretty much every other “curse” you can name.
If you doubt that thesis-if you’re unconvinced that families in most of the developed world are breaking down as never before and that our burgeoning social problems are the direct result-we will seek to convince you of the cause and the effect and the connections between them.
If you already believe the thesis (or once you do), we will try to explain why it is happening and expose the “culprits” of misdirected larger institutions and commonly accepted false paradigms. When we understand what is happening and know who and what to blame, we can become part of the solution. Once we grasp why things are the way they are and why it is critical that we change, we will each find our individual ways to do so.
This world’s current generations-our generations-parents and grandparents who are now raising children, running companies, creating media, making laws, teaching, writing, voting, consuming-essentially the adults of this current world-may be this world’s last chance. If we continue to ignore (or accept temporary solutions for) the symptoms, and if we fail to understand or combat the cause, the world we have known will not exist for our children. But if we recognize and restore priorities of families and values, we can rescue our own happiness, even as we turn aside the forces that would destroy our children’s future.
Besides parents, we are writing and appealing to anyone who has any influence in the public (government), private (business), voluntary (community), and individual (personal/family) sectors.
Parents have more influence over their children’s destiny than anything or anyone else. And parents, collectively, have more influence over our culture’s destiny than anything or anyone else. Thus, the center of this book’s target is parents.
Our second most-hoped-for “hit” is those with influence in the voluntary and community sector-the teachers and trainers, coaches and counselors, ministers and mentors of the religious, recreational, social, cultural, and educational institutions that make up our neighborhoods.
Next to home and parents, these community institutions and their leaders can do the most to turn the hearts and end the curse.
To some extent at least, we also hope to reach business leaders and owners, especially those who have realized, or will through reading this book, that the strength and stability of their employees’ families is the strength and future of their business-that when employees must choose between loyalty to work or loyalty to family, both sides lose.
Ideally, we would like to reach the policy makers at all levels of government whose unenlightened laws and interpretations can sabotage and substitute for family rather than support and supplement the family.
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at www.valuesparenting.com and preview their new book THE TURNING at www.The-Turning.com