In 1935 (to pick a date), the most common pattern in our country was for a local boy to meet and marry a local girl and to settle down and raise their children in the community in which they themselves were born, with relatives and friends forming a network of relationships that surrounded and nurtured (or harrassed) them. Divorce rates and crime rates were relatively low in most places. Stable communities tend to have stable families. The network of relationships promotes this. Human beings have lived in these relatively stable forms for most of human history.
In 2007 (to pick another date), the more common pattern is for a boy to meet a girl in college or later – he is from Virginia (say) and she is from Ohio (say). They marry, move to Oregon and begin their careers, or they met there and married. Family is the stuff you negotiate as in “whose parents do we visit at Thanksgiving this year, etc.” The network of friends is often his friends from work and her friends from work, and frequently not much more.
This is a subject that is really ripe for plucking – the instability of the family and the community affects everything. I’m often struck by how until the baby boomers, family and community continuance was the norm. But then I’m often struck by how in the space of a generation, thousands of years of ideas, traditions and norms were torn down and “deconstructed.” Because boomers always knew better than anything that ever came before them.
Hmmmm…getting myself all annoyed and tense over here, and I don’t want that. This might help.