Parents can strengthen their own family as well as their community and nation by encouraging their college-age students to take some classes in marriage and family studies. Many students take marriage preparation classes, but there are other valuable classes to take also. Most students will not be interested in a career in counseling or marriage and family therapy, but studying some of the material in that program can help them to have happy and successful marriages and families.
Last semester I took a class that was based on “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The principles of the proclamation were supported by social science research. I gained a lot of research-based knowledge about the principles. For instance, I learned that therapists now encourage patients to practice forgiveness – for their own sake and not particularly for anyone else. Another principle was wholesome family recreation. It is good to share whole recreation with young children, but it is essential in keeping teenagers close to the family.
This semester I am taking a class on family relations. This is my week, but I am already learning lots of new stuff that helps in understanding the importance of the family. This week we studied the Baby Boom and the panic it caused in the environmental community. As it turns out, the fertility rate during the Baby Boom (18 years) was about 1.0 higher than the replacement rate. With the panic over the population explosion and the legalization of abortion, the fertility rate of Americans now below replacement rate. However, there is no cause for alarm.
The immigrants and their children are enough to bring the official rate over the replacement rate. This makes the United States the only Western nation to meet the replacement rate. So when we hear of the 3,000 immigrants per day pouring over our southern border, it is not all bad news. They are actually adding to our economy.
This is another thing that I learned this week: the economy is tied to the fertility rate. As the fertility rate goes down, the available workers have to work harder and smarter to keep the economy growing. When we reach the point that they cannot work any harder or smarter, the economy starts going downhill. The only other answer is to increase the number of people.
The experts expect the U.S. population to reach a peak about 2065 and then start to decline. Since fertility rate in Mexico and Central American countries is also declining, those countries will reach a point when they will want to keep their citizens at home.
The solution to avoiding a demographic winter is to strengthen families. We need to have policies that encourage marriage and family, and we need parents who will teach their children properly. The family is the cradle for teaching basic moral principles and how to be contributing members of society.
It all goes back to the prophetic counsel found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The family is the basic unit of society and must be strengthened in order for society to stay strong. The rising generation can do much to strengthen their family, community, and nation by studying about marriage and family and applying the principles that they learn.