The Family Sweepstakes

If you are born in America that first day you will have much of your future defined by the family into which you have arrived. There are no do-overs or Mulligans.

The first question is this — were you actually born into a family?

As you can see, a substantial portion of babies are not born into a nuclear family — a mother and a father in a stable relationship that will foster the development of a child.

The obvious first impact is that a single-parent household is limited in the number of person hours they can dedicate to child rearing.

You may be quick to say this is an example of the destruction of the nuclear family and I suppose that is true, but the point I am trying to drive home today is that this phenomenon MAY be at the root of much of what is happening in society.

How does that work again, Big Red Car?

Good question, dear reader. Thank you. It works like this:

 1. A nuclear family — mother/father, stable relationship — is a unit of society that bonds to other similar units.

When you have cousins, you have bonds.

 2. The nuclear family has more person hours available to raise its children.

 3. A nuclear family has the potential for a higher income with two potential sources of income.

 4. Alternatively, the nuclear family can have a single income and a full time child raiser, care giver.

 5. A nuclear family has more ability to plug into the fabric of society — to interact with other nuclear families and to thereby expose their children to richer developmental experiences.

 6. That social interaction can be in the form of churches, recreation organizations, schools, and other similar organizations. Many of these interactions are beyond the time constraints of a single-parent household.

 7. That social interaction creates community, platform, network benefits that also have a positive impact on child development. Nothing is as good as Vacation Bible School or summer camp, right? How about some organized basketball or Girl Scouts? How about a sleep over?

 8. That community, platform, network effect is a bridge to a larger society in which other communities interact and gain healthy knowledge of the rest of a city, a state, a country, the world. This is basic citizenship, national identity.

 9. That entire process — family, social interaction, organizations, community, platform, network — creates a culture.

If the culture is one of inclusion, then there is a positive impact on the child while the child grows into an adult with an appreciation for the benefits of being part of a healthy culture.

That adult is more likely to foster more of the same. And, the cycle continues.

In the end, it all starts with the luck of a child’s birth. If that darling baby is born into a nuclear family, the odds go up that they will one day be a part of a community, a balanced society, and a healthy culture.

So what is the alternative, Big Red Car?

Another good question, dear reader.

 1. The alternative is being born into a life that struggles to provide person hours which may be correlated with a challenging economic future and a lower standard of living.

The surest form of poverty in the United States, that we never talk about, is the poverty of parental supervision.

Allow me to digress for a second. A nuclear family brings two parents to focus on the child, but many times that is the front line of two sets of grandparents. Amongst higher economic levels with the reality of divorce rates, this may translate into several additional persons interested in the welfare of a child.

Each of these additional points of light is a locus from which love may flow. In the end, a child is a vessel into which we pour our love. If there are fewer parents, grandparents — the child is left to fend off the world with less love.

Translate the word “love” into whatever sentiment you desire, but the point is this — a paucity of supervision is the meanest form of poverty there is. All other measures of poverty flow from this font.

One more point — there is no more powerful force in the world than a mother. Single mothers are the most courageous people in our society. They should be awarded a combat patch. They have the burdens of two and never, ever get a chance to step back, take a day off. But, they have practical limits as to their physical endurance.

The world is an unforgiving place when a single parent runs up against the limits of their endurance and resources.

 2. This alternative provides a clear deficit in attention as well as blocking the entry point into the fabric of society.

 3. No plug into the fabric of society leaves the child alone with the challenge of assimilating into society without the natural entry points.

 4. Most of the time the missing parent is the father. The lack of a male role model during a child’s formative years puts them at a huge disadvantage of developing healthy attitudes toward manliness (if they are a boy) or to healthy relationships (if they are a girl).

This is a toxicity that will not fix itself. It festers and lingers until the child is launched into society with these potentially serious flaws.

 5. By missing the plug into society the rest of the follow on benefits are lost.

I could go on a bit more, but the message is this — it is a high burden to meet for a single parent to develop a healthy child grounded in society, part of healthy organizations that will provide positive impacts, and, thus, difficult to become part of a healthy culture.

What is disturbing is to realize how many of recent mass murders are linked to this phenomenon. You want to control mass murders? Put more emphasis on the nuclear family.

More than 80% of mass murderers in the last five years were the product of a fatherless home. Wow! Maybe this is where the FEBA (forward edge of the battle area) should be located?

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

There is an irrefutable trend toward single-parent households as a result of children born out of wedlock thereby obviating the benefits of a nuclear family in the rearing of children. We need to focus on this if we want to change negative outcomes like mass murders. Tell me where I’m wrong.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Call someone who is struggling and offer empathy and some real help. If you were raised in a nuclear family, call your nuclear engineers and thank them. Be well.