On June 28, 2022, Them Before Us founder Katy Faust spoke at the Ukrainian Conference, “Ukrainian National Idea: Genesis, Essence and Realization.” The online conference was a collaboration between Ostroh Academy National University, Institute of Education of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, the Department of State Policy and Governance of Lviv Polytechnic National University, and Lviv Regional Knowledge Society of Ukraine. 

The conference discussed the formation of an enduring national Ukrainian identity, and brought together local and international experts. Here’s what Katy shared with them.

“Good morning, Ukrainian friends.

My heart has been united with yours during your long months of pain, suffering and sacrifice. So it’s a joy to speak with you, and encourage you to rebuild your nation into one which can withstand future threats- both internal and external.

The West has been captivated by Ukranian’s willingness to defend their homeland. We look in awe at the ordinary people who have taken up arms to defend their motherland. People like newlyweds Yaryna Arieva and Sviatoslav Fursin.

I too admire that. But the fundamental hope for your nation will not be found in this man and woman standing guard in the streets of Kyiv. It will be found in the home they create together. No nation has a future without strong marriage.

My name is Katy Faust. I am the founder and director of Them Before Us, dedicated to defending children’s right to their mother and father. It is this right- the right of every child to be known and loved by the two people responsible for their existence- that will build a strong Ukraine. 

Unlike your nation, the United States is not under attack from an external army. We are under attack from within. Cultural changes, legal changes, and technological changes are joining forces to dismantle the fundamental building block of our society- the family. As a result, our children are suffering and our nation is weakening. 

Culturally, the United States has embraced the dangerous notion that adult sexual and romantic desire are the highest good. The result is a national culture that considers children to be burdens, obstacles, or entitlements rather than precious gifts to nurture and steward.

Many western nations have embraced the faulty legal idea that marriage exists to validate the emotional bond of adults. The reality is, marriage is the only institution that unites the two people to whom children have a natural right, their mother and father. And when marriage is legally redefined, mothers and fathers become legally optional in the life of a child. The problem is, children suffer when they lose their mother or father- whether by war, or because a law has deemed them unnecessary. 

And now, technological changes that create children in laboratories, rather than in the loving embrace of parents like Yaryna and Sviatoslav, are manufacturing children who are intentionally motherless and fatherless.

The result is, American children are in crisis. We have skyrocketing rates of teen depression, anxiety, and suicide. Our children are sexually confused, struggling in school, and at increased rick of neglect and abuse. How can this be happening in the wealthiest country in the world? Because money will never give children the same benefits that Yaryna and Sviatoslav can give through their lifetime commitment to one another.  

There are three staples of a child’s social emotional diet- mothers love, fathers love, and stability. All three can only be found in life-long, man/woman marriage. When any one of these three are missing, a child is at increased risk of mental, physical, and emotional struggles. 

Yaryna and other mothers offer children female specific nurture and soothing.  They naturally encourage the development of children’s fine motor skills, excel at every day caregiving, are primarily concerned with their child’s immediate emotional and physical well-being, and their maternal bond sets children up for healthy attachment in future relationships.

Sviatoslav and other fathers offer children provision and protection, naturally encourage a child’s gross motor skills, maximize their children’s cognitive development, safely push children to their limits, help sons to channel their physicality and aggression, and satisfy their daughters longing for male love so they don’t seek it from bad men.

Neither Yaryna nor Sviatoslav are optional in the life of their children. Further, their babies will not just need them for two month, or two year, or 12 years. Their children will need both of them all their life. That kind of longevity and stability can only be found in lifelong marriage.

Children in the west have plenty of food. But, many of our children are emotionally starving because they were deprived of mothers love, fathers love and/or stability. Our prisons are overflowing with fatherless children, behavioral therapists are overwhelmingly treating children from broken homes, our streets are inhabited by teens without a dad, and children who grew up outside of strong marriages are dropping out of school, committing suicide, and becoming teen parents at record rates. 

Do not follow the example of the United States. Do not believe the narrative that the “Modern Family” which requires children lose their mother or father, is either beneficial or “progressive.” 

As you chart your course for a strong national identity, I encourage you, on behalf of Ukrainian children today and Ukrainian children not yet born, to embrace and strengthen the traditional Ukrainian family- father, mother, and children together. Building up your education system is important, establishing a strong military matters. Rebuilding your economy is critical. Creating a society where Ukrainians thrive is my hope for you. But you will have none of that if you forsake the family. 

May Ukraine raise up an army of Yarynas and Sviatoslavs who create, protect and nourish your country’s most important resource- Ukrainian children.”