According to Census.com, Single-parent homes have grown nearly five times in seventy years, 7 percent to 32 percent (1950-1970). The same webpage also informs us there are 11 million one-parent households.
Statista.com says there are 1.9 children per household. Using that number as a base, a little shy of 22 million children living without a mom or a dad.
The situation in parenting has dramatically changed throughout history.
Until the mid-to-late 1800s in most families, mom would teach the daughters household skills while the boys worked the fields or learned the family trade with dad.
The economy was the barter system. A shepherd may give a carpenter two sheep in exchange for the making of a table. This system would provide the shepherd his needed furniture, while the carpenter’s family now had meat to eat.
Many agricultural families were nearly self-sufficient. They were growing enough food and animals to supply their needs. Living a hard, simple life without much more than the food they grew. Money came from selling extra harvest and newly weaned livestock. The money helped during emergencies, years when the crops did not produce well, and for the very few extras around the house.
Whether the family’s primary production was carpentry or farming, dads spent all day with the sons. He was teaching the family trade and the lessons of file. The sons saw first hand how dad dealt in business, selling this, trading that. The sons would see what type of people they could trust, and who they should not believe.
With very little time spent separated from their father, the sons also learned how to treat others, especially women. The kindness, compassion, or, sadly, at times cruelty, dad expressed toward the women in his life passed down to the sons.
The girls were much the same, but with mom. Training for the difficult work of the home, business, and morals came from mom’s hand. Cooking back in those days was not a trip to the grocery store. If chicken was on today’s menu, it meant going out the hen house, killing a chicken, plucking the feathers off, all before cooking. Preparing the evening meal often started early in the morning with a trip to the hen house. Mom also taught the girls about life. Having a benevolent heart, sexual purity, honesty, business, stretching what little money the family had, and a thousand other things were all on mom’s teaching schedule.
When the industrial revolution came around, many dads left home. No, they did not abandon the family. Still, instead of working the trade or farm, spending most of the time with their sons, they were leaving the house at sunrise or before to work at the factory. Twelve, sixteen, and even twenty-hour shifts, six or seven days a week, took their toll. Work reforms of the twentieth century shortened the workday and the workweek, but the norm became — Dad leaves home, works for a living, and provides for the family. Moms were now dealing with life training for all the children.
When World War II hit, the men went off the war. The women went to the factories. Without the efforts of all, the world would be wearing swastikas on their sleeves today. Many women went back home after the war, but the mindset of a woman working outside the home became commonplace. Eventually, most households became two-income homes.
The World War II generation was also the Great Depression generation. The 1950s brought prosperity and innovations. The middle class now owned television sets, washing machines, cars, and the like. The descendants of the World War II generation often felt it was necessary to start their adult life with the same luxuries their parents had. In an attempt to begin with what took their parents decades to acquire, many young adults began in debut. With the financial load, both parents left home each day for work. In just a few decades, the parenting style of the world changed from parents spending nearly one-hundred percent of their time with the kids to hoping to find any time to spend with them.
Moving alongside with this change in parenting was a moving away from God. As parents shuffled to find time with the kids, time for church, prayer, Bible-study as a family went to the wayside.
This removal of God from the family took away the glue that holds families together. Now we find ourselves with an overabundance of one-parent homes, and many dads are missing from the children’s lives.
Do not get me wrong – many single parents have done an excellent job raising their children. However, nearly all single parents would agree that if there were a loving, caring spouse in the home, life would be much more relaxed, and the results may have been better.
Why are their riots in the streets? Why does a good portion of adults act like spoiled children? Maybe the answers to those questions can be found within society’s homes.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County, Indiana. Webpage: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; address: 410 S. Jefferson St. Rockville IN 47872; all Bible references KJV. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.