May 13, 2009

The (Un)Sanctity of Marriage

The New York Times reports the percentage of unwed births in America is skyrocketing, and it's not just teen-aged mothers. You can see the CDC information online. While Alabama's 38% rate will concern some Alabamians, it's TGFM&DC time...our neighbors to the West has the second highest rate in the country...54%, while the nation's capitol had an astounding 59% unwed birth rate.
All of the figures are for 2007.
Should the rate of unwed births necessarily be of concern? If the children are healthy and loved, does the marital status of the mother truly matter?


Kevin L. said...

As a people and nation, what do we think about ourselves?

While this type question may raise the ire of some, I think it clearly speaks to the issue which you asked, to wit, "if the children are healthy and loved, does the marital status of the mother truly matter?"

On my front porch for the past few weeks (specifically, since Easter Sunday) have been a family of Robins - Turdus migratorius. Though they've now fledged and the nest is empty, I documented their progress from that day to their fledging a few days ago.

It just so happened that in the shed was a nest of two common house wrens - Troglodytes aedon - which had hatched earlier.

Observing their progress, I discovered that one day, for whatever reason, both hatchlings were out of the nest, and one was dead on the ground. I took the living hatchling and placed it in the robins' nest with the three other hatchlings, hoping it would be fostered. It was accepted by the younger robin hatchlings and the adult robins whom feed it, and their own young.

One morning I noticed it had hopped out and was proceeding to fledge the nest. It did, and as it hopped and flittered about on the ground, the adult robins flew security around it, just as they would their own young.

I pondered what I might have observed through the entire time. I concluded that there are some commonalities in behavior with brute beasts and humans. Humans, however, are a much higher order.

Knowing our own shortcomings as we all hopefully do, it is incumbent upon ourselves for the furtherance of our civil society to establish rules, regulations and guidelines for ourselves to abide by. Of course, not all abide by such, nor will everyone always so abide. It's a thing called human nature.

One uniqueness among humans is that we have established the family as the foundation of civil society, whereby we care one for another, including our young, our elderly and the weak among us. The essential foundation and building block of civil society is the nuclear family. It is the undeniable social unit.

In the family, we learn selflessness, compromise, love, obedience and forgiveness, though some may not. Knowing that, we have established guidelines to enforce responsibility among those whom would shirk it, for example, through child support and alimony.

No such rules exist in the animal kingdom. Why not?

We are civil, and in that regard we are much different from brute beasts. It is precisely that reason that we have acknowledged as much.

Does civil society truly NEED more acrimonious divorces, more unwed mothers? More single parent households?

Sure, who cares... as long as the kid(s) is healthy and loved. Let's just remove all societal and socio-cultural mores attached with commitments to the basic social unit of civilization, and let anyone - nay, ENCOURAGE - out of wedlock births. Let's have MORE unwed mothers. (I write this in sarcasm to illustrate a point.)

Only an idiot would say such is good. It most certainly is NOT!

No, it's not children's fault they're born bastards. Yes, bastards. It's not a nice word, but neither are absent fathers, absent mothers, abandoned families or any other of the injurious conditions in which children find themselves unwillingly thrust - against their will. They're pawns... unable to do anything about it. They MUST rely (and do) upon the good judgment of their parents.

Shame... only humans can blush. No other specie has such capacity. What does that mean for us? It means that we have a conscience, that we recognize we order our lives in such a fashion as to be supportive and encouraging to the nuclear family, the elemental building block of civil society.

Social research statistics also indicate that children in single parent households are more likely to be living in extreme poverty. Is that good? "If the child is healthy and loved," what does it matter?

Children of single parents also face significantly increased residential instability and higher rates of interparental conflict. Are those positive markers for developing children? Children learn by example. Is that what we want to teach them?

Further, social research indicates that children from single parent households are at increased risk for numerous varieties of victimization, compared to their peers from two parent households. Does our society TRULY want to increase child victims?

Yet poverty is also associated with increased health risks. So there goes health.

Children in single parent households also face increased stress. Childhood is supposed to be a care-free time. Do we as a civil society TRULY want to burden our children with worry?

Even when variables are considered, children of single parent households face higher rates of problems of all varieties. As a civil society, do we desire to CREATE problems for children?

Well, at least we have love.

Ahhh... if you TRULY love a child, you'll pay attention to your marital relationship. If you TRULY love children, we, as a civil society will ENCOURAGE marriage and the nuclear family.

I believe one way we could do that is by significantly increasing the income tax deductions for children, spouse and families.

For example, what would it be like if we raised the child tax credit to $2500, and the standard deduction for married couples to $25,000? Reckon we might see increased birth rates? Reckon we might have more stay-at-home moms?

For our nation's own benefit -fiscally and socially - we MUST see an increase in our married birth rate, because statisticians and prognosticators indicate that our social services (Social Security, etc.) will not be sustainable (given Congress' penchant for robbing the trust fund to pay for other projects OTHER THAN claims upon it).

In short, YES, the marital status of a child's mother DOES matter! Statistics so indicate.

Loretta Nall said...

All families, no matter what their make up, should be respected. I've heard people say that they would rather see children spend 18 years passed around from home to home in foster care (where we all know religious nuts and child molesters are pervasive) than to be placed in a loving home with two parents of the same sex. That is beyond INSANE.