David Brooks, Robert Siegel, Atlantic discussed on On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts
I thought jeep as a child we I grew up with a bit of that and when I got married and had children and we found a way without even being intentional of having other people living with us it was so much healthier for the children as well as for me as a mother. It's a great story. We've been discussing the American family With David Brooks and also with Andrea hundred professor of Human Development and family studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr Hundred. Thank you very much for joining us in this case and we'll hear more from David. His latest piece in the Atlantic is called. The nuclear family was a mistake. I'm Robert Siegel and this is on point Are you sometimes confused by the economy befuddled by the financial system troubled by the trade war? We are here to help with the daily ten minute briefing on economic news of the day. Npr's the indicator from planet money. Listen now this is on point. I'm Robert Siegel and we'RE WITH NEW YORK. Times columnist David Brooks whose latest piece in the Atlantic is called. The nuclear family was a mistake Davidson comments we've heard from our website. Jabber machi rights winner. Take all killed the family. Men Change their minds. Why share anything when you can grab everybody's and start a new family or a fair at a whim and Emily Brown writes? This is interesting because my extended family is extremely close and extremely matriarchal. I actually think existence of such a allowed me to be far more successful than if I only had my nuclear family. I'd like to ask you what's the big difference. Do you think in kids who grow up in the extended family of of the kind of families we are described and kids grow up in a in an intact nuclear family. Do you think their their life skills. that One imports that. The other doesn't well You know I don't WanNa make a bifurcation or a generalization but I do think and I I would make maybe make the difference between kids who grew up in no family because I I think the problem with the nuclear family is not that if you can have a stable nuclear family doing great The problem is that's fragility and so it. Winds up with no family and kids who are latchkey kids who have one parent who have no contact with another parent and while we all know single moms and single DADS who are doing amazing jobs. Raising their kids on average of the kids who grow up in those homes They do less well in school. They have more emotional problems. They have lower life outcomes. Rush Chetty has a data that if you grew up in poverty with to married parents your chances of getting out of poverty eighty percent. If you don't your chances are much much lower in the odds are against you. And so I'd say those are the people we need to worry about. Most and I would say just in general across society. I think we've gotten less good at relational skills. I'm really puzzled. Over the the spike in suicide up thirty percent the spike especially in teen suicide up seventy percent or fifty percent or so The the spike in depression rates. Every college I go to the mental health facilities are swamped. I confess. I don't completely understand what's going on here but there's been something that has weakened our relationships and had the predictable effect on our emotional health and I think that somewhat related to what's become of a family forms you have been devoting a lot of energy in in recent years to Investigating issues of community of virtue of of kindness among Americans and And you've written also about very much the spiritual side of this for you and what's been going on in your life does the does the the forged family that you described earlier doesn't have a spiritual dimension For you is it. Is it a a something? You take part in And and do so with your your soul and mind Not just Your desire for conversation and company I mean I do. I mean I think when you get hopefully you stop being stuck in a stuck up middle aged white guy like I was and get a little more emotional and a little more spiritual and you discover the desires of your heart which is the desire to really connect deeply with others and desires of the soul. Which is to serve some good to feel in right relationship with the good and in my column everything. I was writing about came down to social isolation and fragmentation whether it was political polarization rising. Suicide Rising OPIOID. We're just in price of solidarity. And so I started something called weave the social fabric project. The Aspen in suit. You can go visit us. We Are Weavers Dot Org and basically we WANNA lift up people and learn from people who are just phenomenally good at building solidarity and they're not just building connection like warm relationships though. That's very important. They're building solidarity a sense of spiritual loyalty to other human beings and leading a life. That really is it's Corny to say but leading with love. They they the what the weavers do is. They treat neighbors as if they were kin. They treat non kin as if they were kin and though when I see all the fragmentation and hatred in our society I look at the weavers and they are the solution and I just tried to wish we change the culture so more of US embraced their values and embrace. Their lifestyle is just a better way to live. You find those invitations of of kinship like relationships are generally received or is it like the New York apartment to others you. You spoke of earlier. Who just as soon not be bothered. It's tough 'cause a lot of people they're trying to reach have been betrayed so much that they're instinct is. Oh if you show up in my life you're gonNA leave. You're going to betray me. And so they've been educated by very bad experiences and by betrayal. One of our weavers is a woman named Sarah Hanger who runs an organization called thread in Baltimore which really creates social networks around underperforming kids in the Baltimore schools and it takes a while before the kids will trust. And she says it's changing when somebody keeps showing up after they've rejected you at and it's but it's also a dentist. He changing to be the one rejected. And so what they do is that you create much deeper bonds relationship. You have to overcome a lot of fear and a lot of skepticism in order to get there. Because of what's already happened in our society you have wrote a written quite a bit about About your own life and I'm curious in in in. The one of us has been contacted by member of his community. Here I'm not sure who. It is but In the kinds of structures. That you're that you're now involved with do your now. I assume adult children are they attracted to this at all or or do they still feel. Hey you know we're part of what was a nuclear family. That broke up. Yeah I think we've when when they gave it the cover line. The nuclear family was mistake. I immediately texted all my kids. Hey not ours And so I think a they understood that and I would say that as they've gone through life and they're now in their twenties They've found their own versions at my daughter when she was five. She walked into a hockey rink and felt immediately at home. And she now works for the Anaheim ducks teaching hockey kids and I just visited her out there and I would say that team. And the team's she's part around those rinks They're really tight bonds of affection and they they T- speak and familial forms and so I I do think young people today including my own kids are finding that my oldest son served in the Israeli Defense Forces and certainly anybody who serves in any sort of military experience That's family and that's probably family. That's going to last you a lifetime and I do think there's a great hungering for really intimate bonds unconditional love and people are finding it in ways. Because that's how we're wired. Amy is on the line from Tampa Florida. Amy What's your reaction to all this a lot of resonance. I am an older mom of especially toddler and the nuclear families fragility is front and center. We recently experienced the flu. And as a family we were debating about whether to go to the ER. Because we didn't have any any help. And I believe we maybe relocating to DC metro where we lived before as a couple and also a single people we're going to be experiencing that region in a completely different way Housing astronomical since having This child I have experienced Typical you know New Motherhood plus medical issues and I've been driven to look into intentional communities and Co housing there are a couple in silver spring. And I'd like to hear your thoughts about how important that is in the face of an aging population and also in the face of Parents or parents of special needs children and children who will be ultimately needing as supportive living environment even after the parents passed. Thank you David. I read about Co housing communities in The peace and basically. They're they're usually a bunch of apartments together. When I write about this is in Oakland. Call to Michael Collins Which has twenty three people in ranging from age one to eighty three and they have a gigantic common kitchen. They eat together maybe twice a week together in the rest of the time they just eat within their own apartments. They have a Common Garden. Commonplace play area and in that particular cohorts in community. There's a a guy who's a nurse and one of the Moms told me you know I can knock on his apartment door one in the morning. put my have my kid held in his arms and say should we take him to the and the nurse is very happy to give that advice even in the middle of the night and so. That's the kind of support and the other thing that the some of the resins told me about that place. Was You have a lot of friendships across the age A woman I talked to Courtney. Martin has a little girl and her little three year. Old Daughter just has a wonderful relationship with one of the adult males in the. The guy loves the fact that a three year old daughter a three year old thinks he's fantastic and the girl loves the fact that She's got this funny guy who plays with their own time. And so this sort of multigenerational Connections that used to be part of life are are much more part of these co housing communities. Sally is on the line from haverhill Massachusetts. Sally Wicha High. I just want say I'm married into a a lovely large Italian family. We ended up moving away just because we none of our free time was never our own. It was always scheduled with family events. And they're wonderful people but it turned out. We just didn't have our own life. Yeah I mean David. There's that I Guess Sally is experiencing something a few decades. After a huge number of people have experienced that which was the notion is the big family the big multigenerational family. Can it be suffocating Do Children not get the kind of attention from their parents that they would in a nuclear family. And I'm wondering when you think of what What again what? The different experiences Do for kids. Who grew up in them? What what about that problem? Yeah I think they can be more suffocating for the adults. I think the kids are fine having squads of other kids to run around and play with but I think the adults can find it suffocating. You're basically forced to live with people who didn't choose Often their feuds and often like even we started with a stray of a guy who cut the didn't cut the Turkey at the right time That's a seemingly trivial thing can create years of feuds and so. I don't want to say that life in extended family is always neat and nice and a lot of the Weavers. We work with struggle with burnout. Because they're always giving giving giving and they don't have a sense of place to relax is t. a place to do self care and so. I don't want to totally romanticize these things and I'm a person I think our our values of change and I certainly live with modern values. Were I expect a certain level of privacy room in my own? A quiet place and those are often not around extended family so there are. There are pluses and minuses to both forms. I guess my argument would be. We've got a little too far over in the direction of privacy and separation and isolation And it's been especially bad for our kids we're talking about Family with David Brooks Whose article is called..