Old way still the best way

Published 9:32 pm Thursday, December 29, 2016

By Joseph L. Bass

As an old guy I see that much has changed in America over the years. Some of the changes have been good and some not so good.

Incredible technological progress has been made, increasing worker productivity, wealth, communication, medical care and more.

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My parents’ first telephone was a wooden box that hung on the wall. It was necessary to crank a handle to charge it and alert the operator that you wanted to make a call. Have you ever seen a cell phone with a crank or had to talk to a telephone company operator in person?

But many of our social problems are much the same as before, and we have regressed in some areas. What is the nature of the not-so-good changes?

When I was a young person the best way to become a self-reliant, economically comfortable American was to get a good education, find and keep a good job, marry the right person, raise your children in a church and set a quality parenting example, leading your offspring to follow the same life pattern.

Of course, the traditional family pattern isn’t anything new. It has been the tried-and-true pattern in human society for thousands of years.

Many years ago, I read an article discussing the strength of traditional family structure. The author stated that if it were necessary for humans to again live as primitive, hunter-gatherers those that would survive and thrive would do so by living in traditional families.

Examining today’s considerable social problems, it is not difficult to determine that few problems come from traditional families. A large percentage of social problems originate in fragmented homes. There are many more such negative home environments than in the past.

Consider stay-at-home mothers. A recent Pew Trust study found that only 15 percent of stay-at-home mothers with a working husband live below the poverty line. But 77 percent of stay-at-home mothers living with only their children live below the poverty line.

Other studies have found that among the different racial and ethnic groups, families do better economically in each grouping than those living otherwise. It is true that there are wealth/economic disparities among the groups, but within each group those that do better than their peers live in traditional families.

People need to recognize that the secret to becoming a self-reliant, economically comfortable American isn’t locked away in a government vault. Any group of people, regardless of race or ethnicity, that wants to improve its children’s well being must adopt this centuries-old pattern of life, living in traditional families.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.