12 Nov Trying to Replace the Basic Unit
Basic, while typically thought of as simple or easy, it is the most crucial to an outcome. For example basic math, which is elementary material is what makes up our ability to solve calculous and trigonometry problems. Replacing that basic understanding with something else will never contribute to the solving of a more complex equation no matter how much effort is invested. The same is true for society, if we don’t promote the basic unit then the harder societal issues will never be solved.
For centuries the nuclear family unit has been considered the basic unit of society. This idea remained unquestioned on a large scale until a few decades ago. Now alternatives have started to arise promising the same results even though they spring from dramatically different roots. Society has tried to replace the family with many different things including the individual and the workplace, all of which fail to produce the same benefits in quantity and quality as the traditional nuclear family does.
“The family—and not the individual person—which is the basic building block of the community and thus of society as a whole … without the cohesion of the family, there can be no lasting community, and without a lasting community, there cannot be a greater society, to say nothing of civilization itself.”
Some of the problems that we are facing as a society include: abuse, drug use, delinquent behaviors, poverty, crime, and poor school performance (at all levels). But social science research continue to show that the family is at the core of reducing these. While there are other contributors to decreasing the prevalence of these in our society the family is at the foundation and is able to produce the best results in the least costly way.
One advantage that the family has over these others is that it is multigenerational. A child becomes a husband, parent, then grandparent, and through all these stages has the support and vison of what came before as well as what he is creating. The bedrock of strong family values and a good support system is generally transferred through generations.
Likewise neglect of the family and the negative consequences that spring from that are also transferred though the years. Poverty and especially multigenerational poverty which is especially hard to break out of is also a cycle of broken families. When the family is neglected there is need for greater government involvement. As families break apart government intervenes in personal family issues with court cases and foster care. Children from intact families are less likely to abuse drugs and commit crime, leading to a better overall community.
So let’s get back to the basics and stop looking for an alternative solution when the solution that we have already works. Strong families are crucial for society to continue to produce competent productive individuals. While other sources are beneficial and need to be used in coordination with promoting families they will never replace the family.