The extended family can be a resilient and socializing force. The fifth commandment shows us how, and it tells us that God wants it that way.
“Americans have less family than ever before.”
That’s a claim from David Brooks, commentator on PBS NewsHour, Meet the Press and elsewhere. Writing in The Atlantic back in February, he made that statement in an article titled, “The Nuclear Family was a Mistake.”
You might find that title startling because, despite the makeup of the family you grew up in, if you’re like most of us, you probably think of the nuclear family — a married couple with 2.5. kids — as the ideal. Brooks writes, “We take [that] as the norm, even though this wasn’t the way most humans lived during the tens of thousands of years before 1950, and it isn’t the way most humans have lived during the 55 years since 1965.”
The two dates Brooks mentions — 1950 and 1965 — are significant. After telling how for millennia people lived in clans or extended families, with all the support and benefits those clusters provided, he...
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