Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lack of Solid Roll Models for our Young Poor

Andrew Klavan has written a good piece on the lack of husbands and fathers with America's poor.

I visited a fourth-grade class in a slum school recently. Since I’m a storyteller by trade, the teacher asked me if I’d tell the kids a story. Now I’m a good storyteller and an all-around charming guy, no doubt, but I wasn’t prepared for the degree of fascination I inspired. Rambunctious mischief ceased on the instant and resolved itself into riveted attention and awestruck stares. I was awfully pleased with myself by the time I was done.

“Don’t take it personally,” the teacher told me brusquely. “It’s just that they’ve never seen anyone like you before. A man—obviously tough—who’s not a gangster.”

...Her point was that you have to take just one look at me to see what, in fact, I am: an unapologetic, because-I-said-so, head-of-household male. They used to call us “husbands” and “fathers” back in the day. That’s what these kids had never seen.

This is not only a problem in the cities, but many rural areas are facing the same problems. From southeast Kansas to the Great Smokey Mountains, if the area was built on something other than farming, such as mining, or small factories, or as a transportation hub, then poverty is a big problem. Most of those types of jobs are now gone and so is hope for a better future. Then, any motivated young people leave the area taking with them the chance of better jobs in the future. Families break down and meth moves in. At least that's what happened around here.

The most important part of Klavan's article is where he talks about conservatives rebuilding culture. If I was more creative, I'd love to take part in that.

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