The nuclear family and American growth

by Ryan Streeter on January 4, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Via Rod Dreher, some interesting thoughts from a foster mother about the role of the nuclear family.

In the end, you cannot substitute for home life. You just can’t. For most children, the lack of a viable home foundation is the deciding factor. So the question becomes whether there are social inputs that can be provided that could possibly make home vastly more functional for struggling families. As long as the nuclear family in isolation is the model that’s available to us, I don’t think you can – because functionally the insertion of an outsider, however benign, can’t cross that barrier.

Rod follows with some interesting commentary about the role of the nuclear family in Anglo-American culture compared to European cultures. It’s an interesting perspective on how our tradition of emphasis on the nuclear family supports the mobility that has been essential to American growth and greatness. He also points out that our tradition makes the nuclear family so central to stability and growth that struggling families are hit especially hard in a society like ours.

From my roughly four years living in Europe during my professional life, this makes a lot of sense to me.

Read the whole thing here.