As a result, the children in upper-class liberal enclaves study hard, get high SAT scores, get into Ivy League schools, land good jobs in growing industries, and get married and have children. The children in blue collar white households, increasingly, drop out of college, get their girlfriends pregnant and face increasingly bleak economic prospects.
The lesson is obvious. Marriage matters. Family matters. Education matters. Work matters. Religious communities matter. These are not empty words but the facts of life. A young adult from an affluent family may take them for granted, but one from a poor family, or no family at all, may need to learn them the hard way – unless someone offers them the following advice.
Decide that you will finish high school and go to college, no matter what it takes. Decide you will get married and stay married. Decide you will work hard, and do whatever it takes to protect and nurture and love your children. Decide to take your children – to drag them kicking and screaming if necessary ‑ to church, temple or synagogue. Decide to make education a priority in your home. Decide you will stay the course, finish the race.
It’s not just conservative church folks who say this. The affluent techies of Silicon Valley and the producers of Hollywood blockbusters do, too – just not publicly.
Robert Hutchinson, a veteran travel writer, studied philosophy as an undergraduate, moved to Israel to study Hebrew, and earned an MA in Biblical studies. He writes frequently on the intersection of religion and popular culture at http://roberthutchinson.com/