Over the past year, I’ve had many unforgettable opportunities to speak with school counselors/faculty and students about work and life. It’s been a joy to hear the dreams of our young people and the life-changing impact of their teachers and mentors.
It’s also been gut wrenching to hear educators relay what’s happening in the home lives of far too many students who are living without the stability and support of married and loving parents. It’s arguably one of the major social justice issues of our lifetime.
Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. They enter this world with no control over their genes or the parents who brought them into being. They live the consequences of their parents’ (and others) decisions and actions every day.
Over the past 20 years, a body of research has developed on how patterns of family structure, in particular, affect children. Most researchers now agree that children do best when raised by their two married, biological parents who have mature, stable relationships. The poverty, dropout, and yes, crime statistics are irrefutable.
So, if this is true, wouldn’t we want our most vulnerable creatures to be born into this world with loving, married parents who intentionally created them into existence? Where they can grow up in a secure environment with the unique perspectives of loving, married parents who are mature enough and financially capable of raising a child? In short, shouldn’t they be given the best chances to succeed in life?
I grew up in a time when this view and message to young people were the cultural norm and most people acted accordingly. However, with many culture drivers sending conflicting messages, the numbers of children being born to unmarried and young parents continues to rise. This trend is wreaking havoc on the academic success, values, and emotional maturity of our younger generation. Ask any experienced school counselor and they’ll tell you that the lack of a mature and stable support structure at home is the most common issue they wrestle with daily when working with students. We owe it to future generations to reverse this course.
I want to challenge us, the adult generation, to consistently communicate this message to young people:
Hold off starting a family until you’re married and ready to have children, not only for the sake of yourselves and your future dreams, but especially for the sake of your future children. You deserve the best chances to fulfill your dreams and be a great parent, and your children deserve the best chances to grow up in an emotionally and financially secure and stable environment. If nothing else, do it for them—after all, it’s their life you are creating!
What are your thoughts and opinions? Do you agree we can make a better life for upcoming generations if we commit ourselves as a society to the message of being mature, thoughtful, and intentional about when and how we bring children into this world? Young adults: For the sake of yourself and your future children, are you prepared to wait until you’re married and ready to have children?