Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has written "A Simple Government," in which he discusses the most important form of government -- the family.
Read an excerpt from the book below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library.
The Most Important Form of Government Is a Father, a Mother, and Children
We Need a Return to Family Values
There's an old Japanese proverb that says, "It is easier to rule a kingdom than to regulate a family." I don't know who said this, but as someone who's done both (though I'd hardly call Arkansas a kingdom), I can say with absolute certainty that he was right.
I'll bet you've never thought of your family as a government. But when you get right down to it, it's the form of government that matters most—much more than Congress, or your state legislature, or even your neighborhood block association. Get your family right, and its strength will wind its way up to the highest levels of global power. Of course, the reverse is also true: When the family fails, so do the other organizing structures around it.
Why does a person commit a heinous crime—use a deadly weapon to rob someone, vandalize a school, rape a woman, murder a hapless victim for twenty dollars, or steal millions from investors (perhaps including friends and relatives) in a Ponzi scheme? Are these acts caused by incomprehensible wickedness? Are these people just plain bad? No, it's really very simple. These are people who failed to grasp—or were never off ered—the simplest lessons of self-discipline, respect for others, and a strong sense of human decency. And where should those lessons be taught and learned? It's not the job of a school, a workplace, or even a church to provide these most basic of life lessons (though we shouldn't forget about them there either). And besides, even when we do rely on institutions for these lessons, they usually fail.
No, these lessons cannot be taught by a teacher, boss, or minister. In order to create truly valuable and respectful citizens, these lessons need to be taught at home. By the time we enter school or start a job, we should have learned how to behave. I'm not usually a pessimist, as you probably know, but I'm afraid that if a child has not learned to behave by age four or so, he or she never will.
When I was a child and did something my mother found objectionable, she'd say, with some exasperation, "Were you raised by wolves?" Of course (being objectionable), my immediate inclination was to whip back a smart-aleck answer like "No, ma'am. I got it from you!" But I never did because I knew that the wolf in her would come out and probably chew me out. Plus, I knew what she meant: Th is was her way of reminding me that I was supposed to try to achieve a certain level of civil behavior. I might even demonstrate a notable diff erence from animals in the wild by using a napkin, saying a blessing before diving into a plate of food, or washing up before sitting down to eat. Such civilized rules of courtesy, kindness, and unselfi shness were expected of me not merely so that I could get what I wanted but because, quite simply, they were right.
To this day, I try to behave the way my mother wanted me to - not because I'm afraid of being grounded (my wife does that now) but because she taught me the difference between right and wrong and showed me by example how to behave. These principles originate, of course, from the family.