Family Values in America and Great Britain
Few can doubt that family is trouble. Nobody can doubt that parliament and people are now casting around for solutions to what is seen as a problem of endemic disorder – rising crime, intrusive squalor, spreading welfare dependency, collapsed community. The concept of family has changed greatly. Speaking about American families, there are several ideas that have changed. The first thing that comes to mind is the difference in size of the families. Anybody with ten children today would be viewed as strange, antique, or, even worse, unpatriotic — "You are contributing to the depletion of resources and overpopulation of our country!" A large number of children are no longer needed to carry on the work of the family and are no longer a source of security or pride. Second, the size of the word "family" it has diminished. Today, the word "family" means the nuclear family (parents and children), not the extended family of the old days. The second area of change that has occur in the role and status of the husband and wife. In the old days the man's work was outside the home, earning a living to support the physical needs of his family. The woman's place was in the home, giving birth to and raising children, caring for and feeding the family, nursing the sick and the aged. On the other hand, the great majority of mothers today are employed at least on a part-time basis outside the home, and are expected to supplement the husband's income. Women are much more active in the affairs of politics, business, and government than they ever were in the days of my grandfather's youth. Today, more than ever, women are becoming equal partners in marriage. The third area of difference which one can notice is in the very practice of marriage itself. In the days of my grandfather, the word "marriage" meant only one thing: the union of one man and one woman, for good or for bad, until "death do they part." In comparison, marriage today can...
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