Author Topic: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?  (Read 4107 times)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2021, 10:19:04 PM »
What would that data look like? How would one acquire it? I think common sense and experience are enough to go by to have an opinion on matters like this. Do you disagree that a neighborhood with a higher percentage of traditional nuclear families would be a neighborhood most people would like to live in? Not ALL people, and not a perfect place to live, and not a neighborhood of pure uniformity, or any of the straw man extremes you usually leap to, but just a neighborhood with a higher percentage of homemakers.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2021, 10:42:48 PM »
I think in this discussion, especially in the last couple of posts from Charles and Peter, we see the tension between the needs of individuals and the needs of the community. Peter sees the need for the community to have people who will tend to children, tend to homemaking, and volunteer to help keep community institutions running. In the past those tasks were especially done by women who had the time to do those vital tasks because they were not needed to earn a paycheck to help keep the family supplied with goods and services. Some women (and some men) find such a rewarding career even if it is not what is usually seen as a career. Many women today find more fulfillment in earning a paycheck in a career. That is a personal choice. But does it well satisfy the community needs?


What complicates matters is that the community not only has needs but expectations. Long gone are the societal expectations that women will keep the house, raise the children, and in their spare time volunteer at church, school, and social agencies. But have we built now the societal expectation that women will always have a career? If in the past women who worked outside the home were looked down upon, have we now changed so that women who do not are looked down upon? And rebuilt society to make it hard for them to do so?


Complicating this is that many people (I can't really guess percentages) both men and women work at jobs that are just jobs, they make a paycheck but do not find a fulfilling career in their work? Is that better?


Could we as a society become more flexible so that women who make careers outside the home and women whose career is the home are both valued and respected?
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Charles Austin

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2021, 12:42:54 AM »
Pastor Fienen writes:
Could we as a society become more flexible so that women who make careers outside the home and women whose career is the home are both valued and respected?

I comment:
We already have. Except that in some circles, women who set aside the role as "housewife" and "mother-caregiver-of-children" are seen as "abnormal" or somehow failing in their allegedly God-given duties. And in some places, the "housewives" are seen as having less "communal" value.
Then there is the issue of "blended" families, single-parent families, and same-sex marriages.
Same-sex marriages or permanent relationships are still trashed as "abnormal" or worse in some areas, even though their numbers are growing.
What we need, in my not-so-humble opinion, is less "instruction" on what a family is, what family roles are or ought to be, and what best serves the individual or society; because those things are different for different people and different situations. I'm thinking right now of three families I know. One is two men married not long ago. Another is a mother, single by choice after a divorce; and the third is a heterosexual marriage where there are - intentionally - no children and there are not likely to be any. All are active in church, in the community and in their professions, although one of the men in the gay marriage is a stay-at-home father. None fit any "traditional" picture of marriage and "family life," although all are - again in my not-so-humble opinion - fine families valued in church and society. And I can think of single people with no intention of getting married who are also happy with their lives and of value to their work and local community.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2021, 01:07:26 AM »
There are no one-size-fits all arrangements of the family and society. There will always be exceptions, not to the official rule but to the common assumption or societal expectation. Today, the career is the expectation and assumption and the family is a lifestyle choice, with the one-income family considered a subculture. You can tell this is so by the demand for "equity" meaning that we have as a goal getting more professions to be 50% women. That is a bad goal with no basis in anything other that the assumption that the only reason it isn't already like that is sexism.

Everything tailors to the normal, as it should. When we talk about, say, a 5th grade reading level, we aren't mandating that anyone be at that level. You might have had a college level reading ability in 5th grade. Or you might be barely literate. But the norm sets the expected lesson plans and coursework, and if you are exceptional you need an exceptional route or will struggle with the normal plan. The question is the degree to which young people should grow up with the expectation that they will marry and have children, and if they do, with the expectation that they should maintain two full-time careers throughout.

I think the "new normal" in the middle class, that both boys and girls will grow up, go to college, get careers "in their major," and then see if family can fit into that is not healthy. I don't think it makes the most people happy. I think it makes exceptional people less unhappy than they might otherwise be for feeling abnormal. I also don't think it is the best thing for neighborhoods, churches, towns and society generally. If you find a place with a high percentage of traditional, nuclear, one-income (or one main income) families, I think you'll have found a place that most people would like to live, a place with a generally low crime rate, low poverty rate, low dropout rate, etc.

The problem is, trying to achieve that when it isn't considered normal or the expectation for most people is extremely difficult. It is like trying to a get a date for prom when nobody organized a prom. Only when prom is a thing (something not everybody has to do, bjut many people do and it is endorsed or sponsored, so to speak, by society, does someone find themselves dressed up at a dance with a member of the opposite sex. The people who would really like to form traditional families don't have a context to make it happen apart from emerging sub-cultures, which often come with other difficulties.

Family is built-in, biological (for normal people) fulfillment. We see so many young people adrift and despairing for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that they typically are not married with children and attempting to be king and queen of a domain (no matter how small) all their own.


Neither of our 40-something sons has expressed any interest in marriage or families. Neither dated in high school or college or since. Both have said that they don't like children much. It's probably better for someone who doesn't like children not to have them. Another difference is that neither one of them owns a car. They have in the past, but not now. They walk, use mass transit, Lyft/Uber, or rent a car. They aren't looking at buying houses. Neither likes the work required to maintain their own house. Both are earning more than twice what I made in my best years.


Their life-goals are not at all like what I had. Married at 21. (50 year anniversary this year.) Began having children soon after getting out of seminary. Bought a house as soon as that was an option (my third call). Have owned a car since age 18, and most years two cars. We have down-sized to one car in retirement.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2021, 01:24:17 AM »
What would that data look like? How would one acquire it? I think common sense and experience are enough to go by to have an opinion on matters like this. Do you disagree that a neighborhood with a higher percentage of traditional nuclear families would be a neighborhood most people would like to live in? Not ALL people, and not a perfect place to live, and not a neighborhood of pure uniformity, or any of the straw man extremes you usually leap to, but just a neighborhood with a higher percentage of homemakers.


What's a neighborhood? We've lived in our house for 14 years. We've talked with the older couple across the street. We know no one else in our neighborhood. We used to know and visit with the people next door, but they moved out of town. We've never met the people who bought their house. There were three church families in the development. One retired and moved out of town. Another transferred to another congregation. The third is still around. Our friends do not live in our neighborhood. That was also true in the last place we lived. There was no neighborhood community.


The place before that, we did know a number of the neighbors, but mostly through our children who were going to school together. We lived close enough to the grade school, middle school, and high school, that the kids all walked to them. Even in the small rural towns we lived in (where parsonages were provided,) we didn't know our neighbors. If there were homemakers there or not, we didn't know. (We really didn't care to know, either.)



"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Norman Teigen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2021, 04:33:54 AM »
Many years ago I learned of Daniel Boorstin's idea of 'The Consumption Community.'   People became united by what products and services they would consume.  It became necessary to increase family income to keep up with the Consumption Community. 'The concept of consumption community, first proposed by historian Daniel Boorstin, claims that in the modern era of high mobility, people look not only to neighborhood as a basis for feelings of community but also to communality of consumption behavior (e.g., drinking the same brand of beer).'
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Dave Benke

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2021, 08:15:03 AM »
I think in this discussion, especially in the last couple of posts from Charles and Peter, we see the tension between the needs of individuals and the needs of the community. Peter sees the need for the community to have people who will tend to children, tend to homemaking, and volunteer to help keep community institutions running. In the past those tasks were especially done by women who had the time to do those vital tasks because they were not needed to earn a paycheck to help keep the family supplied with goods and services. Some women (and some men) find such a rewarding career even if it is not what is usually seen as a career. Many women today find more fulfillment in earning a paycheck in a career. That is a personal choice. But does it well satisfy the community needs?


What complicates matters is that the community not only has needs but expectations. Long gone are the societal expectations that women will keep the house, raise the children, and in their spare time volunteer at church, school, and social agencies. But have we built now the societal expectation that women will always have a career? If in the past women who worked outside the home were looked down upon, have we now changed so that women who do not are looked down upon? And rebuilt society to make it hard for them to do so?


Complicating this is that many people (I can't really guess percentages) both men and women work at jobs that are just jobs, they make a paycheck but do not find a fulfilling career in their work? Is that better?


Could we as a society become more flexible so that women who make careers outside the home and women whose career is the home are both valued and respected?

When I arrived in Brooklyn in the 1970s, there were two women's groups in the church.  It had been that way since the days of the Great Depression, I was told.  The Ladies' Aid met during the day and was composed of women who were homemakers.  The Willing Workers met in the evening and was composed of women who worked outside the home.  Both were valued and respected in the congregation, and it was good in my opinion that there were two groups because there were two very formidable women in leadership who each had their own crew, not two women competing for one leadership position.  Anyway, we now have "Women of God on the Move", made up of women who work outside the home and those who are homemakers.  Kismet.

To Charles' point, in more tightly packed locales with lots of commonality - neighborhoods - the cooperation and collaboration and sense of community consists of human beings in every possible family living arrangement and working situation taking care of themselves and their neighbors.  The way it's often joined is through Block Associations and then associations of block associations.  But it's a multi-chrome motley crew doing the collaborating. 

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2021, 08:45:46 AM »
I live in a parsonage so everyone around here knows what I do. I say hello to the neighbors and visit with them when we see each other on the street. We watch each other's properties due to the crime issues in the Southend.

I've urged the congregation to be outside for events, cleanup, gardening, which causes communication and engagement with neighbors. For example, when one of our neighbors divided hostas, she brought the divisions to me and we placed them around our campus. As we beautify, we draw more walkers and dog walkers. When one of the new neighbors was cleaning gutters on his rented property, I saw his ladder was short and brought him a tall ladder to finish the job. I don't socialize with neighbors but we certainly interact.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2021, 09:52:58 AM »
I live in a parsonage so everyone around here knows what I do. I say hello to the neighbors and visit with them when we see each other on the street. We watch each other's properties due to the crime issues in the Southend.

I've urged the congregation to be outside for events, cleanup, gardening, which causes communication and engagement with neighbors. For example, when one of our neighbors divided hostas, she brought the divisions to me and we placed them around our campus. As we beautify, we draw more walkers and dog walkers. When one of the new neighbors was cleaning gutters on his rented property, I saw his ladder was short and brought him a tall ladder to finish the job. I don't socialize with neighbors but we certainly interact.

Sure - the point being made in the thread is about one-earner families, the traditional nuclear family and neighborhood/community togetherness.  Christians, no matter their economic level, family size or shape, are going to be a force for good in the community because it's in their Christian DNA - help the neighbor, be a good neighbor, improve and protect the neighbor's property and business.

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Charles Austin

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2021, 09:55:48 AM »
We lived on a cul-de-sac. House to our left, a lesbian couple who invited us to their wedding when marriage became legal. To the right: A family of Puerto Rican ancestry, with the Spanish-speaking mother-in-law living with them. Across the street: An American man married to a Chinese woman musician, they spent a couple of months each year in Shanghai. Also across the street: An Orthodox Jewish family, five kids. The other house: An African American couple, young, new baby. On the edge of the "external" street: Agnes, a widow, was English, but in this country for 45 years, her daughter the same age as ours and they are still friends.
We socialized with the lesbian couple, and traded backyard barbecue tools with the Puerto Rican family - he managed a super-market and got some good meats. The Chinese-American couple came to our annual holiday party in December.
But our real, interactive "neighborhoods" were our work-places.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Dave Benke

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2021, 10:22:17 AM »
We lived on a cul-de-sac. House to our left, a lesbian couple who invited us to their wedding when marriage became legal. To the right: A family of Puerto Rican ancestry, with the Spanish-speaking mother-in-law living with them. Across the street: An American man married to a Chinese woman musician, they spent a couple of months each year in Shanghai. Also across the street: An Orthodox Jewish family, five kids. The other house: An African American couple, young, new baby. On the edge of the "external" street: Agnes, a widow, was English, but in this country for 45 years, her daughter the same age as ours and they are still friends.
We socialized with the lesbian couple, and traded backyard barbecue tools with the Puerto Rican family - he managed a super-market and got some good meats. The Chinese-American couple came to our annual holiday party in December.
But our real, interactive "neighborhoods" were our work-places.

I like the idea of hosting a neighborhood party - will have to think that through, now that we can have guests again.  We hosted a big bash for our 75th birthdays for friends/family.  But reaching out to the neighbors that way is for us an opening to global realities as well.  Two doors down it turns out our neighbors originally from India include a nuclear family with multiple working people, one of which is of personal importance - a nephrologist.  It's always all about the kidneys for me.  In this family she's the mom.  We have a family from mainland China next to us who moved in within the last three years, and then Taiwanese, Indian, Korean and Albanian immigrant families on the block, along with us, an Italian-American family and a large Korean Presbyterian church.  That would make for some intriguing potluck!

Mostly we kvetch about the school teachers parking on our block during the day and messing up our personal pre-determined parking locations.  Our incredible handiness to the Long Island Expressway also means that we get handy-access break-ins from folks on wheels.  Not nice.  Surveillance a must.

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2021, 10:30:47 AM »
We live on a cul de sac and know everyone in our neighborhood. It helps that many of them are members of our church, but many of them are not. We host an annual neighborhood Advent party and get pretty good attendance. I think it makes for a much healthier neighborhood and society when people know each other, and I'm not one naturally inclined to get to know people. It is just important.

If you take the classes in the foster system you don't need all kinds of data to see how the nuclear family is in general healthier and better for children; it is obvious. But one thing they talk about is the social safety net. That is, when something goes wrong or when there is an emergency, how do things get taken care of? If you're unexpectedly detained and the first grader are coming home from school, is there a neighbor who can take him? Does the kid know the neighbor? Or is it a big ordeal? Or does the first grader just hang out by himself? That's a small example, but there are many much bigger ones. Kids in the foster system have no social safety net; when Plan A fails in their home setting, there is disaster because Plan B is either non-workable or involves people who lack any personal investment in making it work, and Plan C is non-existent. Churches, neighborhoods, and extended family (especially grandmothers) don't play a primary role according to Plan A, but they play a crucial secondary role and come off the bench pretty often, and in many cases play starting roles for most of the season.

This is what makes things like the "Life of Linda" so sick. It is the government replacing the inter-workings of social life. A federal program is not at all the same thing as a village. It takes a village to raise a child. But it takes villagers to make a village. And it takes a male and a female villager to make a tiny new villager, and it takes a marriage of that male and female to put that tiny new villager in the best position to one day be an asset to the village, meaning a source of social strength and stability for others in need.     
« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 01:51:55 PM by peter_speckhard »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2021, 10:39:19 AM »
We lived on a cul-de-sac. House to our left, a lesbian couple who invited us to their wedding when marriage became legal. To the right: A family of Puerto Rican ancestry, with the Spanish-speaking mother-in-law living with them. Across the street: An American man married to a Chinese woman musician, they spent a couple of months each year in Shanghai. Also across the street: An Orthodox Jewish family, five kids. The other house: An African American couple, young, new baby. On the edge of the "external" street: Agnes, a widow, was English, but in this country for 45 years, her daughter the same age as ours and they are still friends.
We socialized with the lesbian couple, and traded backyard barbecue tools with the Puerto Rican family - he managed a super-market and got some good meats. The Chinese-American couple came to our annual holiday party in December.
But our real, interactive "neighborhoods" were our work-places.

I like the idea of hosting a neighborhood party - will have to think that through, now that we can have guests again.  We hosted a big bash for our 75th birthdays for friends/family.  But reaching out to the neighbors that way is for us an opening to global realities as well.  Two doors down it turns out our neighbors originally from India include a nuclear family with multiple working people, one of which is of personal importance - a nephrologist.  It's always all about the kidneys for me.  In this family she's the mom.  We have a family from mainland China next to us who moved in within the last three years, and then Taiwanese, Indian, Korean and Albanian immigrant families on the block, along with us, an Italian-American family and a large Korean Presbyterian church.  That would make for some intriguing potluck!

Mostly we kvetch about the school teachers parking on our block during the day and messing up our personal pre-determined parking locations.  Our incredible handiness to the Long Island Expressway also means that we get handy-access break-ins from folks on wheels.  Not nice.  Surveillance a must.

Dave Benke

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We started hosting an Advent party as an excuse to show our children's friends' families how to do Advent family devotions, so it wasn't really the physical neighborhood at first except for the fact that some of the friends lives nearby. But for the last many years we've invited everyone on our cul de sac and the cul de sac behind us as well as a few nearby houses. Some have never responded to the invitation, but we get a good turnout. Even just handing out a list that tells all the neighbors who their neighbors are brings a sense of accountability into everyone's lives. If you don't know your neighbor at all, you don't know your neighbor's needs and couldn't serve them even if you were willing and able.

For some people hosting isn't going to be a good option, but then accepting an invitation from a neighbor becomes an important thing to do even if it isn't convenient for you. 

Charles Austin

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2021, 11:31:12 AM »
Peter writes:
 And it takes a male and a female villager to make a tiny new villager, and it takes a marriage of that male and female to put that tiny new villager in the best position to one day be an asset to the village, meaning a source of social strength and stability for others in need.
I comment:
Are you saying that a child adopted by a single person, or the child of a gay couple or those families cannot be a “source of social strength and stability”? What about the committed union of two people who are not “married”? Are they a source of “social strength and stability”?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 12:00:38 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2021, 12:03:00 PM »
Peter writes:
 And it takes a male and a female villager to make a tiny new villager, and it takes a marriage of that male and female to put that tiny new villager in the best position to one day be an asset to the village, meaning a source of social strength and stability for others in need.
I comment:
Are you saying that a child adopted by a single person, or the child of a gay couple or those families cannot be a “source of social strength and stability”? What about the committed union of two people who are not “married”? Are they a source of “social strength and stability”?

No, Charles, he's not saying that. You make an illogical conclusion, purportedly for the sole purpose of arguing with Peter.

This is an interesting thread. Please stop trying to hijack it with bitterness as you tend to do with most others.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 12:29:04 PM by Donald_Kirchner »
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