Marriage — The Best Antipoverty Program

To the Readers’ Forum:

The social problems in our community and in our country seem so numerous and solutions seem so hard to find. But the prevention of most of our social problems is remarkably simple. If we could convince our teens to finish high school, get married and then have children, in t hat order, the vast majority of our current social problems would go away over a generation or so.

Democrats, Republicans, progressives and tea partiers should all be able to agree that single teenage motherhood is a very bad idea.

Almost no person who completes high school gets married and then has children winds up in poverty in America.

On the other hand, a vast majority of unwed teenage mothers will spend their lives in poverty.

It is the truth that most children raised with no father in the home struggle with education and with being responsible members of society.

The scholar and late U.S. Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, wrote in 1965 that ”a community that allows a large number of men to grow up in broken families … never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority … asks for and gets chaos.”

All of our institutions, including our schools, our churches, the YMCA, YWCA and t he Boys and Girls Club should not be shy about teaching the fundamental value of getting an education, getting married and then having children, in that order. It is time to begin to stop the chaos in our society.

Frederick A. Larson