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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

We Should Be Dealing with The World As It Is…
Date Posted: April 16, 2021

“…rather than what we think it is or want it to be.” So challenged Sheila Suess Kennedy, a public policy expert and law professor at IUPUI a few years ago.

Carol Rogers, Director of Indiana University’s Business Research Center concurs, noting a trend that has rapidly increased over several decades that, incidentally, encompasses a number of social/moral issues today; her comments here directed specifically to the definition of what constitutes a family. “Increasingly, we’re moving away from the 1950’s view of ‘family’ with its two parents and 2.3children living in the same house (and) moving more toward extended families living in multiple places.” The troubling aspect of this trend being that the number of married-couple families – with or without kids at home – has dropped to less than half of all households in Indiana and the U.S. (Twenty years ago it was 54%, in the 50’s – 75%.) The numbers, however, can be confusing, as family households actually showed an increase of 72,000 in the past decade or so. That definition, however, was based on any combination of people related by blood, adoption or marriage.

But even if those numbers present a new reality, is it a better one? Is it one we want to perpetuate? Or would it be more advisable to take heart from the fact that Indiana is still more “married” than many other states, ranking 15th in the nation for married-couple households, and build on that base to reemphasize the ‘traditional’ concept of home.

The fact remains that there has been a marked increase in single-parent households, with more than 10% of all Indiana homes led by either a male or female single parent with children 18 yrs. old or younger. The national census revealing this trend to be much the same across the U.S., meaning more unmarried couples are shuffling in and out of relationships and the home, contributing to the increase in single-parent households. Which is cause for alarm. Particularly since poverty and crime rates for children in single-parent homes or where the “partnerships” are subject to frequent change, is demonstrably higher than for kids in married-couple homes. But it’s not just about money, as single-parents and those in undependable relationships often struggle not just to meet financial needs but the emotional demands of their families. Indiana State University economist Robert Guell stating the obvious. “There are a lot of things that two parents can accomplish together that one parent alone can’t.” Truancy, petty larceny and other acts of lawlessness up to and including gang-related activity, drinking, drugs and promiscuity all occur at higher rates in families based on something other than Judeo/Christian principles with a traditional emphasis on two people of the opposite sex, caring and providing for their offspring.

Ms. Kennedy further states that, “We’ve got some real problems, but the solutions for them need to fit the way we are today, not the way we were in the past.” And there may be some truth to that sentiment as few of us live as the “Walton’s” did, multi-generational family members all living and working together in the same house. But it’s pretty obvious that the way we are isn’t working very well for a lot of people, which is not to say everyone raised in a two-parent home never gets in trouble and always does well. But statistics – as well as the day to day reality of these situations – clearly show that the probability of “unfortunate circumstances” increase in what we now label as “non-traditional” homes. The question then is this: Do we cater to the abnormal to make it seem normal, changing our definition of right and wrong or good, better and best to more readily convince ourselves that all is well, or even better than before? Or do we face the cold hard facts and work to correct what ails us?

Paul warned of those who, “…will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3 Which is nothing new, Isaiah lamenting over those who in his day, “…say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” Is. 30:10,11Men have always sought appeasement and consolation over the challenge to regret, repent and change. Scripture however, promises judgment on “…those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” Is. 5:21 Warning that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 Condemning “…those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Is. 5:20

Let me be clear. I’m not implying that everyone involved in a “non-traditional” household is bound for hell. Any number of people find themselves a part of one through no fault of their own and work – with varying degrees of success – to remedy their situation. But embracing a new reality because it’s difficult to “fix” the old doesn’t make it normal, admirable or better. There are ideals, doctrines and traditional views that are admirable, preferable and over time, proven right. Sometimes, misdirected acts of compassion are counter-productive; such as giving fresh needles to drug addicts, condoms to elementary students, alcohol to minors in the “confines” of home, marriage licenses to gay couples, making illegal drugs legal or at least not as illegal as they once were. We’re merely treating symptoms because healing the disease has proved difficult; but making the solution “fit” the problem is not the answer. An old-fashioned, traditional change of head and heart based on the principles taught by the Christian church is.

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Biography Information:

Fred Price - married (49 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.

Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker.  He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today.  Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.  

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