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6 Statistics That Show How Much America Has Changed in a Half-Century

6 Statistics That Show How Much America Has Changed in a Half-Century

Since the political scientist Charles Murray will be speaking at Intellectual Takeout’s upcoming gala, I thought it fitting to read his best-selling 2012 book, Coming Apart.

Drawing on five decades of statistics, anecdotes, and other research, Murray sets out to make the case that America is, well, coming apart—economically, socially, and culturally.

It’s a fascinating book, largely because Murray really did his homework. Murray provides so many statistics and poignant anecdotes that his readers quickly realize a startling fact: the America of 1963 scarcely resembles that of 2017 from a social and cultural perspective.

Readers may disagree as to whether these changes represent social progress or cultural decline, but few will quarrel with the idea that America 1) is bifurcating; 2) has experienced a fundamental cultural transformation in just a few generations.

Here are six statistics that drive home just how much things have changed in America in a little more than a half-century:

1. Marriage was practically universal and divorce extraordinarily rare.

“In the 1963 Current Population Survey, a divorced person headed just 3.5 percent of American households, with another 1.6 percent headed by a separated person.”

Today, 28 percent of children live in single-parent homes, according to government statistics.

2. Out-of-wedlock births almost never happened, especially in white families.

“…among whites, the illegitimacy ratio was only 3 percent, about where it had been throughout the century.” (Murray points out that births to single African-American women had just begun “rising worrisomely.”)

Today in the U.S., the birthrate for unmarried women is 40 percent.

3. Illegal drugs were rare and considered exotic.

“In 1963, there was just 18 arrests for drug abuse violations per 100,000 Americans.” (There were plenty of arrests for drunkenness, however: 1,284 per 100,000.)

By 2010, arrests for sale/manufacturing drug offenses alone were about 100 per 100,000, according to FBI statistics.

4. Religious values were widely held and shared.

According to an October 1963 Gallup poll, just “1 percent of respondents said they did not have a religious preference, and half said they had attended a worship service the last seven days.” (The Gallup poll, Murray, notes did not use the term “worship service.” It used the word “church.”)

5. It was not socially acceptable for men to be Idle.

“…98 percent of civilian men in their thirties and forties reported to government interviewers that they were in the labor force, either working or seeking work.” (Government data for 2014 show the following labor participation rates for men: 35 to 44 (90.5 percent) and 45 to 54 (85.6 percent)

6. Television was much more influential than it is today.

“All of the top thirty-one shows had ratings of at least 20…led by The Beverly Hillbillies with a rating of 34.9, meaning that 34.9 percent of all American homes with a television set were watching it.”

As a point of comparison, the top-rated primetime TV programs of 2016 (The Big Bang Theory and NCIS) scored a 6.7 rating.

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These statistics are not evidence that life was necessarily “better” in 1963 than in 2017, just that it was more culturally cohesive (almost monolithic, some would say). Nor does Murray ignore facts that suggest all Americans did not enjoy equal access and opportunity in American society as it was constructed in 1963.

Rather, his thesis is that the things that made American culture unique are changing in fundamental ways.

“The American project…consists of the continuing effort, begun with the founding, to demonstrate that human beings can be left free as individuals and families to live their lives as they see fit, coming together voluntarily to solve their joint problems. The polity based on that idea led to a civic culture that was seen as exceptional by all the world. That culture was so widely shared among Americans that it amounted to a civil religion. To be an American was to be different from other nationalities, in ways that Americans treasured. That culture is unraveling.”

Murray’s thesis has the ring of truth to it. One can either mourn or applaud this “unraveling.” But I’d challenge anyone to read Coming Apart and deny that this unraveling is taking place.

This post 6 Statistics That Show How Much America Has Changed in a Half-Century was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/all/themes/ito/js/ito-repub.js

It Matters Whom You Marry

weddingMy husband and I were once with a youth group. There were three kids sitting across from us at a meal: two guys and a girl. The one guy was a computer geek with glasses. The other one was a college student with slightly cooler hair and no glasses. The girl was obviously with him. But while the computer geek was busy serving everyone at the meal, clearing plates and garbage, the college student got angry with the girl for a small accident and poured red juice over her leather jacket and white shirt. She picked the wrong guy, and the juice didn’t seem to change her mind. She is in for some grief if that relationship continues and especially if it leads to marriage.

So to all the young, unmarried Christian girls out there, listen up: who you marry matters. You might think that the way he treats you isn’t so bad. It’s not going to get better after the wedding. You might think that he’ll change. It’s possible, but most don’t. You might think that you’ll be able to minister to him and help him. Possibly, but if you can’t now, you won’t then, and you will be at risk yourself. A husband should lead and cherish you, not need your counsel for basic personality or behavior issues.

Unless someone married is very frank with you, you can’t understand how much a husband will impact your entire life. Next to salvation there is no other long term event that will change so many areas of your life so deeply. Here are just some of the ways that marriage will impact every aspect of living.

  1.  It will impact you spiritually. If the guy is not a believer, you can stop right there. You have no business yoking a redeemed soul with an unregenerate one, even if he seems open to change. Christ has bought you with a price and it is not an option to give away that blood bought heart to someone who doesn’t know and love your Lord. It will cripple your spiritual development, open up a host of temptations, stifle your prayer life, make regular church going difficult, and cause massive parenting conflict if you have children.  If the guy is a believer, is he a strong one? Will he lead you in prayer, Bible reading, family devotions, and public worship? Or will you be on your own? Is he going to make spiritual growth a priority or do other things come first? Is he going to ask you how it’s going with your soul so he can help you grow in holiness and love for Christ, or will he leave that to your pastor? Is he going to lead the children in this, or will you have to spearhead that? In church, is he going to help the kids sit well, pray, find the hymn, or will you be the one pointing out what is happening next and helping the family keep up? Many women have married spiritually immature men, thinking that it wasn’t a big issue, or that the man would change, and they were wrong. They bear the scars.  The health of your eternity is at stake. Think carefully.
  2. It will impact you emotionally. Is the guy you’re thinking of going to encourage you, love you, be kind to you, and seek to understand you, or will he want to go out with the guys when you’re having a hard night? Will he listen when you are struggling with something or will he be preoccupied with a video game? Is he going to be annoyed when you cry or will he get you Kleenex and give you a hug? Is he going to understand that you are probably more tender than he is, more sensitive to issues and comments, or is he regularly going to run rough shod over your feelings? One woman was struggling to breastfeed her new baby, believing that that was the best thing for her, but it was very difficult. Instead of giving support and encouragement, the husband would make mooing sounds whenever he saw his wife working at it. We have to get rid of princess complexes, but we do have emotional needs. Any guy who is uncaring about your feelings and self esteem is selfish and should be left alone.  Be careful – a husband can cripple or foster emotional health.
  3. It will impact you physically. Is the guy you’re with going to provide for your basic needs? Will he be able to shelter, clothe and feed you? At one point in our marriage, I was worried that there was no employment opportunity. My husband assured me that he would work at McDonalds, dig ditches, clean up roadkill – whatever it took to provide for the family, regardless of his gifts and training. That’s the kind of attitude you want. A man who doesn’t provide for his household is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). You might have to help ease the financial burden, but unless your husband is disabled or there is another unusual circumstance, you shouldn’t have to carry it yourself.  Will the man you are with care for your body or abuse it? If he gives you little smacks, kicks, etc. when you’re dating, get away. It’s almost guaranteed that he will abuse you after marriage, and stats show that’s especially true when you are pregnant. Is he going to care for and protect your body or will he hurt it? There are women in churches across America who thought it was no big deal to have little (sort of friendly) punches or slaps from their boyfriends, but who are covering up the bruises from their husbands. Will the man you are with care for you sexually? Is he going to honour the marriage bed in physical and mental faithfulness to you or will he flirt, feed his porn addiction, or even leave you for another woman? You can’t always predict these issues, but if the seeds or practices are already there, watch out. I recently saw a newly married couple and the husband was flirting openly with another woman. Unless something drastic happens, that marriage is headed for disaster.  Is he going to be tender and gentle to you in bed? An unbelieving co-worker once told my sister that after her first sexual encounter, she had trouble walking for a few days because her boyfriend was so rough. In other words, he wasn’t selfless enough to care for the body of the woman he said he loved.  Watch out. Your body needs care and protection.
  4. It will impact you mentally. Is the man that you’re thinking of going to be a source of worry or will he help you deal with your worries? Is he going to encourage your intellectual development, or will he neglect it? Is he going to value your opinions and listen to what you are thinking, or will he disregard your thoughts? Is he going to help you manage stress so that your mind is not burdened that way, or is he going to let you struggle through issues alone? Is he going to care for you and be thoughtful of you if you are experiencing mental strain, or will he ignore it? I know of a woman who could handle pregnancy and child birth very well physically but postpartum depression took a huge toll on her mind. The husband overlooked it, continuing to have more children, until his wife ended up in a mental institution. You might think that the intellectual or mental side of a marriage is small. It’s bigger than you think. Consider it seriously.
  5. It will impact you relationally. How’s your relationship with your mother? Your dad? Do you love them? Does your boyfriend? Fast forward ten years: you tell your husband that your mother is coming for the weekend. Is he excited? Disappointed? Angry? Making snide jokes with his friends? Of course, a husband should come first in your priority of relationships, as you both leave father and mother and cleave to one another. But parents are still a big part of the picture. Whatever negative feelings he has about your parents now will probably be amplified after marriage. Your marriage will either strengthen or damage – even destroy – your relationship with your parents. The people who know you best and love you most right now could be cut out of the picture by a husband who hates them.  It’s the same with sisters and friends. Will they be welcomed, at reasonable times, in your home? Will the guy who you’re with encourage healthy relationships with other women, or will he be jealous of normal, biblical friendships? Will he help you mentor younger women and be thankful when older women mentor you, or will he belittle that?Don’t sacrifice many good relationships for the sake of one guy who can’t value the people who love you. So how will your boyfriend do after the vows? Because this is just a sampling of the ways that a husband can bless or curse his wife. The effects are far reaching, long lasting, and either wonderful or difficult. True, there are no perfect men out there. But there are great ones. And it’s better to be single for life than to marry someone who will make your life a burden. Singleness can be great. Marriage to the wrong person is a nightmare. I’ve been in a church parking lot where the pastor had to call the police to protect a wife from a husband who was trying to stop her from worshiping and being with her family. It’s ugly. Don’t be so desperate to get married that your marriage is a grief. If you are in an unhappy marriage, there are ways to get help. But if you’re not married, don’t put yourself in that situation. Don’t marry someone whose leadership you can’t follow. Don’t marry someone who is not seeking to love you as Christ loved the church. Marry someone who knows and demonstrates the love of Christ.

click here for Guys, It Matters Who You Marry Too

Source:  https://thechristianpundit.org/2012/08/15/it/

Harvard Psychologists Say: Parents Who Raise ‘Good’ Kids, Do These 5 Things!

childToday’s kids are largely affected by the technology around them, which has also changed the way they think, act and communicate. These new behaviors can be very challenging to parents, who did not grow up with this kind of technology.

The parents are facing many challenges – one of these is definitely the fact, that nowadays children are brought up in different ways than their parents were in their childhood.

All the parents are asking themselves, if they are raising their kid in the right way. “Will my child become a successful person with ambition? Will they become a role model or a leader? Will they live a happy life?”

Psychologists from Harvard University have put together a list of elements that are suggested to be the key to raising a good and successful child in today’s world. Although these elements are quite simple, they are really important to remember.

SPEND QUALITY TIME
Be there. Not just physically, but also emotionally. Listening to your child and making conversations really helps you to bond with each other. Also, turn off all the electronics and give them your time without any disturbance. Doing things together will teach your child to be a more caring and considerate person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Play their favourite game together
  • Read them a book
  • Ask them questions about their day

BECOME A ROLE MODEL
Children learn from things they see and experience. Many parents may not notice how much of their behavior young kids actually see and understand. This is why you should really think about your words and actions. When you make mistakes, admit them and apologize. Be the example you want your child to become.

Another important thing is respect, which can only be earned. So always be honest, show that you are a human too and humans make mistakes. Also try to see everything as a lesson and a chance to grow and become a better person. Teach this to your child as well.

Practical things you can do:

  • Always admit your mistakes and apologize for them
  • Talk about problems and finding solutions
  • Find time to take care of yourself, only then you can take care of others

TEACH THEM VALUES
It is important that your child communicates with others and learns to share in the young age. Taking other peoples’ feelings in consideration and being selfless is a really important feature and can become beneficial in the future.

The Harvard study found that caring about others is as important as one’s own happiness. This is something that parents need to teach their children consistently, because sometimes the message is not received quickly.

As a parent, you must always be an example. This means taking responsibility and doing the right thing (even when it is not the most convenient thing to do). Be a role model and confirm your words with your actions. Remind them, that others are counting on them and it is not nice to let people down.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach them every day to be kind
  • Make them take responsibility for their actions and stick to their commitments. Do not just let them quit a sport or end a friendship. It is always easier to just give up, but it is not always the right thing to do.

TEACH THEM GRATITUDE
Teach them to appreciate people and things in their life. Tell them about history and difficult times, so they would understand how lucky they really are to live in this time with plenty of opportunities. Teach them not to take their life and possibilities for granted.

The study has shown, that people, who practice gratitude in their every day lives, are more helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving. What is most important – they are more happy and healthy. So it is definitely a key feature in a good person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Remind your child to be grateful in every day life
  • Teach them to show respect and appreciation for people (family members, teachers, neighbors) in their lives
  • Be the role model and do not take people and things in your life for granted

SHOW THEM THE BIGGER PICTURE
It is a commonly known fact that children care about a small circle of family and friends. This is absolutely normal, but the difficult challenge is to teach them to empathize with people outside their circle.

Children need to learn that it all starts with one person and that they can make a big difference in someones life. So it is important to show kindness towards people you do not know so well (new kid in class, the shopkeeper, the cleaning lady).

The Harvard study suggested that children should learn to zoom in and listen closely to those, who are part of their inner circle, but also to zoom out and take in consideration the bigger range of people they interact with on daily basis.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach your child empathy – teach them to comfort a crying kid and reach out to a new classmate
  • Have conversations about different people and their lives. Talk about people with different religions, beliefs, communities and countries
  • Teach them not to have prejudices and to show kindness to people around them

Source:  https://www.peacequarters.com/harvard-psychologists-say-parents-raise-good-kids-5-things/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=ciefb