Since I was a small child there have been several characteristics about my personality that have always stood out. One of my first memories of hearing anyone talk about me was when my grandmother had babysat me for the day. When my mother came to pick me up and asked how I had behaved, all my grandma could say was, “My God he asks a lot of questions!” So it is to this day. Another early memory was my dad, when he was around, taking me to the store at the entrance to the neighborhood. He was buying a pack of cigarettes and asked me if I’d like anything from the candy isle. What child wouldn’t? Five minutes later he regretted his sincerity as he threatened never to take me again if I didn’t hurry up and pick something. It definitely wouldn’t be the last time I irritated someone with my indecisiveness. But it comes from two places in my brain. #1: I don’t like having to regret things, so I prefer to make the right decision the first time. #2: I see everything as being related to everything else, and every action causes a reaction. So before deciding what I want to drink when I sit at a restaurant, I have to first consider if it will go with what I plan to eat, and if I’m prepared to deal with the consequences of having a soda instead of a water, which will be an extra $1.50 and 240 calories! Yes, it’s crazy.
Before making decisions and commitments to things, I try to weigh out the probabilities of it leading in the wrong direction. Asking all those questions has helped to better my judgment. Because I pay so much attention to how different things relate to and affect one another, I’ve always been mindful of this principle in societal terms. My actions not only affect my life, but they also affect yours, and in turn your life affects someone else’s. It’s incredible really when I consider the profound impact one person can have on the world. Let me illustrate this:
You have a child. You raise that child a certain way, and although that child will someday become an independent adult, you have helped shape the way that person will interpret and interact with the world. Let’s say your 1 child has 2 of his/her own, and your grandchildren have 2 each, and they also have 2, and so on. If you continued this pattern, assuming a new generation would be born every 20 years, by the year 2107 you would be directly responsible for the lives of 30 people. Think about how many people those 30 might connect with over the next 100 years, and how great their influence could be. Some might become business owners, some doctors and teachers, others inventors and politicians. Statistically speaking, they will be.
The success and influence of the lives of your descendants is not entirely your responsibility, but you have a tremendous amount of power to make that road easy or very difficult. If you choose to make selfish decisions that hinder your child’s mental, physical, emotional and social development, the odds will be against him/her should they ever try to move upward financially or intellectually. School will be difficult, employers will opt for a better candidate, and a low sense of self-esteem will haunt them throughout their life, unless they are strong enough to fight against it, and determined enough to make something of the empty hand they’ve been given.
Now, to finally get to my point and explain my headline: the percentage of children born to unmarried parents in America in 1960 was around 5%. It wasn’t common for a person to become pregnant in high school, and when it happened, the couple usually married as quickly as possible. I heard a statistic today that updated this information for me. Today, the percentage of children born out of wedlock hangs at 35%, and for black Americans that number jumps to a whopping 70%! How the heck does that happen?
We can all agree that behavioral standards have dropped significantly in our country for the last 40 years. There are a number of factors, but most of it comes down to anti-religious, or more specifically anti-Christian attitudes because religion defines right and wrong, and you can’t have a tolerant society as long as people have a clear moral line drawn for them. There is a war against the Christian heritage of America and if you attempt to deny that fact you are simply not paying attention, but that’s not what this blog is about, so moving on…
As a culture we have decidedly taken on a new opinion of sex and marriage. I hate this fact, which is why I blogged about these topics last month. Nevertheless, it’s happening. While much of the public, including mental and physical health professionals, still agree that it is best to wait until marriage, or at least within a committed relationship at a mature age, most people of my generation – the under 30 crowd (hmm, I wonder why 30) – see no problem with enjoying sex with a casual boyfriend or girlfriend, and some take it even further and are willing to sleep with someone they barely know. We all have our different convictions, but I simply can’t see how someone can live a healthy life this way.
Our relaxed views on sex have also made the idea of marriage a less valuable one. Many couples live together for years and even have children without ever getting married. I have no problem with that if you’re one of the few who can manage that way, but in most cases your odds of staying together are much better if you go through with the paperwork. Since it’s more acceptable now, a lot of people are taking that route.
It’s no wonder then that so many kids are born out of wedlock. But what does that mean? Is that really a problem? Well, I would suggest that you read this article for that answer:
Seriously, if you have to save it and come back to it later, do it. And then consider what you want to pass on to your children. Will it be a gift that they will cherish and appreciate, or a burden that they will resent?
It seems like America has taken for granted the gift of life, and the responsibility of parenthood. I’m just hoping to do my part to help bring it back.