Every once and a while, I wonder what it would be like if I were a father. How would I raise my child? What would I teach them? How protective of them would I be? (I know, Mr. Proudfoot.. rhetorical questions..) These things come into my mind usually at times when I see someone raising a child to standards I would immediately reject. For example, a friend and I went to a local all-you-can-eat buffet where I saw a father and his three children.
Now first off, this father gets 55 points for not abandoning his three children at birth, after all, most fathers are better than not having one, but after that, I awarded no additional points. The father entered, and proceeded to drag his children (who were screaming and bratty) around straight to the desert bar, where cookies were the first course, and then proceeded to allow the children to feign for themselves at the large buffet. The children were approximately three to seven in age, and despite the restaurants warning about children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult, all except the youngest were given free range. The father yelled and argued with the children, who seemed to be just as good as he was at it, further disrupting our fine meal.
This is not an isolated event in my life. I spend a fair amount of time out and about and I see examples of this on nearly a daily basis, from poor eating habits, to terribly bratty children, to parents who have no sense of where their child is or what they are doing, and I see far more of these than I do well-behaved children with parents who at least seem to care.
There is no doubt in my mind that If I was ever the father of a child, I would do my best to prepare it for the world, the way my parents did for me. Their job was not perfect, they made mistakes, but on the whole, I give them an A for the values they instilled in me, and the attention they paid.
However, the odds of me fathering a child are very slim. I don't ever foresee myself involved in a relationship like that (too much emotional baggage.. bleh), and even if I was, a child would be the extension of a marriage, which would certainly not come for many years.
A large and growing portion of the human race, however, has no regrets about unmarried sex. This results in what I call breading stupidity.
Lets have an example. Mary was raised poorly. Her father was never involved in her life, her mother neglected her. She may have some inherent intelligence, but its so undeveloped that no one can tell. At age 15, she has sex with Dan, and have a child. Dan has no father, and his mother, though she tries her best, is having a hard time being a single parent. So, having some good instilled in him he stays with Mary and they raise their child, who becomes just like them, minus 5 percent lost in the middle. Later on, they have three more kids who get the same quality set of morals that they got, minus 5 percent. Now of course, two people with less than average intelligence can produce intelligent children on occasion, but they will not have an upbringing that shows it, and they will eventually end up in a minimum wage job.
Joan and Mike were raised in a small town, both with two loving parents. Joan's family was very rich, and though her father was often away on business, he made sure that he was involved in her life. Mike's parents were not wealthy, but they had had a good upbringing and they taught their child in the same way they had been raised. They marry at 27, and maybe they have one child. This one child will probably be raised like Joan and Mike were.
So what do we end up with? Three poorly raised children, and one well raised one. This example, however, is rudimentary. People of the first category are more likely to have unplanned sex, and to produce children that fill this first category, and the second category will produce a slow stream of well-raised humans.
Now for the disclaimers. Mary and Dan could possibly raise a child with good morals, just as Joan and Mike could raise one with really terrible morals, but often this is not the case. Good parents don't guarantee a good product, but its a good starting point, it obviously has a lot to do with the actual person (believe me, I've met amazing people from poor roots).
Factor this multiplication out over 10 generations, and you end up with thousands more first category children then second. This is what moral decay is. There are things that prevent moral decay, such as religion. Take Jehovah's witnesses for example, its a society sector with almost no moral decay, because they are inclined to marry with people who have similar beliefs. (Am I totally misrepresenting Jehovah's witnesses? E-mail me if I am.) But with "society" rapidly replacing the all-important role of parental guardian, the road ahead looks pretty grim.