Questions That Can’t Be Ignored

“Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. “Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?” Don’t you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?” Wasn’t there any change?”   – Erma Bombeck

When Did Family Go Out of Business?

Nuclear Family Becomes Obsolete

I think what is being communicated here is that there’s still a chance for you and your children. Our society has decided to sanction (by de-stigmatizing) fatherless families, living together, and divorce (to mention a few). There are always causes and consequences. If we dismantle the family we will miss many of its taken-for-granted functions. Just because early and small studies indicate that the consequences aren’t that severe doesn’t necessarily mean that these are smart choices. Right?

What About Our Children?

My wife’s favorite television show is Parenthood. Often she is yelling at the characters on screen because of the poor decisions they are making. Don’t you talk back to your TV? What really bothers her the most is when parents put their own wants and desires ahead of the basic needs (emotional, spiritual, social) of their own children. What gets me talking back is the fact that in the television script this kind of behavior is portrayed as very normal, almost natural.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead wrote that a significant transition occurred after WWII. Family stopped being an experience defined in terms of sacrifice and investment in others (spouse and children). Families have now been transformed into a place where the adults are supposed to find fulfillment – often at the expense of everyone else involved.

Is This The Way We Want to Live?

Students in my classes consistently vote for divorce and the hope of happiness rather than sacrifice and the health/well-being of children. Perhaps they are only reflecting their own experiences and youthful interpretation of the frightening world around them. I’m still not sure they understand the consequences of their choices.

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” 
— Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

About Randy Wilson

Professor of Sociology at Houston Baptist University I read, think and write about religion and culture in the United States. It's very interesting and very complicated but incredibly exciting. For many years I have been trying to figure out how people learn best (my students and myself). The classes I teach are always in a state of experimentation - trying to reorganize around what students bring to the table and where we have to go.

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