Last week, as I was reading the opinions in the local paper in the small Mississippi town where I reside, I had to ask myself if a written opinion on single parent homes was written only to generate a response. As much as I desired not to give in to the assumed ploy, I found myself up late writing a response to the parroted and hubris nature of the opinion. The argument in the opinion was for the ostracizing of single parent homes because children born out of wedlock were not able to be equal to children born in wedlock even when income was the same for both households.
Born out of wedlock is but one of several reasons a child can be in a single parent household. War, death, abuse, adoption, and divorce are all other reasons children can be in single parent households. All of the reasons have the ability to create a need for social support of the children involved. Given the sanctimonious tone of the writing, one would think perhaps the writer is a Christian.
If the writer of the opinion was thinking of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, when the thought of equality came to mind I would agree; children out of wedlock are not equal. If the writer was attempting to imply as a quantitative fact that Cynthia Tucker’s, the editor for the AJC OP-ED pages, children would not be equal to the children of biologically intact families then I do not agree with the writer. Paris Hilton is a prime example that biologically intact families are not a guarantee for positive and productive children.
My studies and experiences with children and families have led me to form an opinion that more readily lends itself to quantification than the hubris factoid written in last week’s paper. My opinion is although children benefit greatly from biologically intact families, children who come from household where the parent(s) are involved in the lives of the children will become positive and productive adult members of society. I do not find a call to ostracize single parents as being the solution to the various social ills of the day. I find a call to being socially, financially, and environmentally responsible to be a solution that would be easier to implement in our pluralistic and freedom of religion loving American society.
Some light reading for those desiring more on the subject:
Clark, Reginald M. "Why Disadvantaged Students Succeed: What Happens Outside School is Critical," Public Welfare (Spring, 1990): 17-23.
Henderson, Anne T. and Nancy Berla. A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement. National Committee for Citizens in Education (1994).
Reynolds, Arthur J., Nancy A. Mavrogenes, Mavis Hagemann, and Nikolaus Bezruczko.
(in 1:109) Schools, Families, and Children: Sixth Year Results from the Longitudinal Study of Children at Risk. Chicago: Chicago Public Schools, Department of Research, Evaluation, and Planning (February, 1993).