Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Resolution You Can Keep

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It’s that time of year again, when we begin to make promises to ourselves that if we were being honest, we can’t possibly achieve. I’ve got a “doable” thing you can actually get accomplished and it will broaden your thinking. Purchase a book called Marriage and Caste in America by Kay Hymowitz.

It’s an important read for everyone.

By reading Kay’s book you’ll discover that the dramatic rise in illegitimacy and divorce during the last forty years – something she calls the unmarriage revolution – has been largely limited to less educated men and women.
Less educated women are much more likely to have a child without getting married first – over half the births to women without a high school diploma are non marital. And when they do marry, they are far more likely to divorce than college educated women. Given that children who grow up with their married parents do better on a wide variety of measures, that means family structure is playing an important role in the rise of inequality.

Think about it. Because the children of single mothers are more likely to become single parents themselves, the marriage gap is self-perpetuating. The children of college women will go on to become college educated, marry, only then have children, as well as to be affluent. The children of less educated women are more likely to not graduate high school, or if they do, to drop out of college. They often go on to have children when they are not married who will go on to repeat the cycle. That’s the basis of the title of Kay’s book: Marriage and Caste in America.

Kay goes on to explore in her book the importance of marriage as a social institution that has evolved over time to satisfy economic and social requirements.

Turns out it is more than “just a piece of paper.”

American marriage contains all sorts of messages about how to live and succeed in society. It provides the young with a life script, and orientation towards the future and it promotes wealth creation.

Still one of my favorite quotes of the season is from It’s a Wonderful Life when Clarence the angel tells Jimmy Stewart’s character that they don’t use money in Heaven…and Jimmy’s character responds: “Yah, well it comes in pretty handy down here Bub!”

While you’re buying Kay’s book, why not pick up
The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher

These two books will give you some facts and thoughts that can only make you better. And, isn’t that more important than once again vowing to run a marathon?