As described on this page, helping college-educated individual have more children, being non-violent, and being drug free are our fundamental goals and values. We have no set religious affiliation with individuals of all religious persuasions welcome. We have no nationality preferences. We welcome anyone who we think can help us reach our fundamental goals and values. Individuals who do not accept our three fundamental values should not join our community. Income-sharing is not a fundamental value, but rather one possible means that might help some of our members advance our fundamental values.Having Children
As can be seen from the rest of this website, helping college students and graduates have more than an average of two children per woman is our #1 goal. Indeed, we think that all members of society have an obligation to be a good member of society and to help assure a healthy future for our society. For college students, and especially for above average college students, we think that there is some moral obligation to make a serious attempt to have more than two children during one's lifetime. Of course, this does not mean that it is immoral not to try to have children, e.g. in the case of Catholic priests. Individual circumstances have to be considered by each individual member of society. Still, if our world does not find someway to significantly raise the fertility of the college-educated, it is very likely that the human race and the Earth, itself, will experience a long period of decline and increasing social chaos. Since this whole issue is covered on other pages on this website, the page will go on to other values.Non-Violence
The recent tragic consequences of massive violence with the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York have brought this issue to the fore recently. However, domestic violence has killed more Americans in the past century than all of our wars combined. Non-violence in the teaching of our children is a fundamental value. This includes teaching our children how to be non-violent, how we discipline our children, how we teach our children to entertain themselves, and the types of examples that we set. Again, this issue is covered in depth on the "Non-Violence" page of this website. Obviously, anyone accepting the concept of "Holy War," or who wants to have a gun while living in our community or who favors violent entertainment, would not fit in well in our community.Drugs and Tobacco Are Definitely Not Permitted
We are very strongly opposed to tobacco and illicit drugs, although we would be willing to help a smoker give up a smoking habit. We are hesitant about alcohol, at least other than modest amounts after age 40 for strictly medicinal reasons (1 drink two or three times a week). However, a total stand against alcohol might hurt us too much, i.e. discouraging potential members. An alternative is to applaud total abstinence, but to also accept without criticism light drinking away from the community (e.g. 1-2 drinks once or twice a month or less). Although we are certain that even light social drinking is less than ideal, advancing our community is definitely more important. We have had several grad students living with us each year for 15 years and have always had a no-alcohol policy. However, roughly 90% of all college grads drink alcohol at least occasionally and many of these would make excellent members. Fortunately, most of the drinkers are light or very light drinkers.
Research clearly shows that alcohol drinking, even modest alcohol drinking at age 20 up to age 45 is associated with an increase in death. The best study, a 25 year Swedish Study of over 49,000 young men, found that 14% of all deaths were due to alcohol with little beneficial effect. Brit Med Journal 1999;319:821-822. The modest protective effect of light to moderate alcohol drinking comes after age 40. While light drinking has repeatedly been found to be of mild benefit even in very health conscious populations, the benefit comes from as little as one-three drinks per week with no added benefit at up to 1 drink/day and with the benefit disappearing at more than 1 drink/day.
We have professionally worked in the past with hundreds of individuals who had become alcoholics. Even though studies have found that 60% of drinkers will never have a serious problem related to their drinking, we know that drinking sets a bad example for children being raised in the home of drinking parents. Every study ever done, and we have found 79, shows that the less the parents drink, the less likely their children are to develop drinking problems (a 25-page review study on this subject available on request). The evidence is overwhelming that non-drinking is the best role model to set when raising children and that very light and light drinking are second and third best. Although alcohol is definitely an addictive and dangerous drug, there are also many studies which show that alcohol does definitely help reduce heart disease and death somewhat in light drinking, middle-aged populations compared to non-drinkers. It is true that more research needs to be done to determine whether alcohol has any additive value for non-drinking individuals already using many of the other proven ways to reduce heart disease, e.g. exercise, weight control, vitamin E, fish consumption, pyridoxine, folic acid, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, blood donation, avoidance of salt and mammal meat ("red meat"), etc.
We think that keeping alcohol out of our community homes and activities is important, but that cautiously allowing light drinking outside of the community is reasonable.The Advantages of Income Sharing
Income-sharing is not a fundamental value of Children for the Future. Rather, we thought that maybe it would appeal to some individuals and be a way to bond our community together. In 18 months of trying to find individuals interested in income-sharing, we have yet to find a single person other than Tom. We are still very open to developing an income-sharing component to Children for the Future, but we are shifting our emphasis by adding a type of co-housing and co-operative focus where most of our members would live in their own homes or paying Children for the Future for food and lodging and making a donation to Children for the Future of at least 2.5% of their income, which, of course, they would have a vote in controlling how it was spent. Independent members may also pay to have their children attend our day care or school.
Still, there are many potential benefits of an income-sharing community and some potential hazards. Among the benefits is the fact that income-sharing communities tend to be more cohesive and enduring than the average American marriage. The rates of substance abuse, child abuse, spouse abuse, broken families, welfare dependency, and crime are all very low in such communities vs. society at large. An income-sharing community can give greater assurances of stability and security. This can be very helpful to children and young adults as well as to the elderly. We think that an income-sharing community can be an aid to college students, allowing them to start raising a family even before finishing their college education. Income-sharing communities have far fewer of their elderly ending up in nursing homes. For a single parent, an income-sharing community provides a family type environment, thereby avoiding the harmful consequences to children that sometimes accompany single parenting. There is no such thing as latch-key children in such a community. An income-sharing community makes high quality day care and home schooling much easier and protects children from the dangers of falling into the wrong crowd at some huge junior or senior high school. There are also major tax advantages to an income-sharing community.
A danger of income-sharing communities is that the community can lose sight of the importance of generating income for the community, including surplus income to plan for the future. We hope that we can avoid this and think that the 501(d) set up will help us accomplish this. Being practical is important if we are to succeed.
An income-sharing community can be more environmentally friendly, for instance, allowing fewer cars per capita, a better use of housing space, easier sharing of vacation homes, etc. Children can have more friends close by to play with. Toys can be shared and good used clothes don't have to end up in the attic. Baby accessories are used by more babies which means fewer car seats, baby carriages, etc., have to be manufactured, bought, and eventually discarded.Home & Hospital Delivery, Breastfeeding
For mothering, an intentional community can provide more support for those who might be interested in home delivery. Of course, we do support good medical care and if members prefer hospital delivery, this is fine, too. Home delivery can not only be a much more enjoyable and loving experience, it can also be considerably less expensive. For many healthy births, hospitals are just plain wasteful. Fortunately, we live only a mile away from two excellent hospitals for those who prefer or need a hospital.
We also strongly encourage breastfeeding (See Health). So many studies have now shown much lower rates of childhood illness and even higher school performance thanks to breast feeding that to not do one's best to breast feed is to short change your child. We would even support one member nursing another member's child in those cases where one member is unable to nurse her own child. While this was very common before the 20th century, now the mere thought of it seems bizarre to some people. Still, infant formula isn't all that it is cranked up to be, especially in the U.S. where infant formula lacks omega-3 fatty acids, required in most European countries to protect brain development. However, even in Europe, infant formula does not have and probably can never have the complex human anti-bodies available in breast milk to protect the child from infection and block the development of allergies. Even in Europe, bottle-fed infants have been shown to suffer sizable amounts of intellectual impairment due to being bottle-fed.How We Are Structured Organizationally and Financially
A democratic and well-organized decision-making process is fundamental to a successful community. There are many models available from which to choose. Most of our decisions are made by 60% majority votes. A daily 30-minute breakfast meeting may be a good unifying idea although we have not achieved this due to widely varying schedules. A daily prayer meeting is standard for Hutterites who have done very well at sticking together. Ganas, an apparently flourishing non-sectarian U.S. community, has a daily breakfast meeting. Frequent community meals are also very helpful. (For more on Ganas and other communities mentioned below, see "Today's Communes.")
An Income-sharing arrangement appears fundamental to a successful intentional community. However, one community, Ganas, has found that they can have a second level of associate membership whereby 85% of their members are not income sharing, but earn enough either working in the community businesses or out in the city to support the community by paying their own way plus a little extra. Also, co-operative communities have become numerous in Israel (See "Today's Communes"). But Ganas has either no children or very few children. The Farm has also switched from income-sharing to a primarily co-operative arrangement after 12 years income-sharing. This change, forced by an economic crisis with 24% interest rates, dramatically decreased its number of members and may also have decreased the number of children per adult. The co-housing movement has had some success without income-sharing, but co-housing appears to be more oriented to helping people find an attractive and friendly urban and suburban housing community rather than working together to achieve a common goal. We expect to be income-sharing with some flexibility for students and exceptional cases. For more on this issue, see "Student and Full Membership."Money
We need to insure that we are economically successful. Working outside jobs and developing our own businesses would be our main ways of raising money. Our city has a long history of a low unemployment rate. We have started a small grade school and hope to start a day care center since these would nicely coincide with preparing to have young children and with our urban location. A portion of new members have specialized training and skills that would be best used working in the city or developing other community businesses. In any case, at the moment we have work available and it should not be difficult to expand. For full income-sharing membership, any funds or resources that you have before joining remain yours, but any income generated from those resources beyond offsetting the effects of inflation would split 50-50 with the community.
Members would have their needs paid for by the community and receive a monthly personal stipend for spending money (e.g. Our minimum stipend is $700, although $60-$70 is currently the case at Twin Oaks and some other communities for which we have information). In order not to discourage individuals with high income potentials from joining us and in order to encourage members to generate more income for the community, a member is allowed to receive a larger stipend equal to 25% of his or her income during months in which the member's after tax income exceeds the stipend. Thus, most members working outside the community will exceed this level. There is also a $50-$125 per month stipend given to the parent(s) for each child. The primary incentive for working hard, however, is not likely to come from personal financial rewards, but rather from the thanks of fellow members.
Like the Hutterites, it is probably important for our community to split into two communities if our size ever grows large, e.g. 30-40 adults with their children. However, only time will tell.