Family, Marriage, and Parenthood

By Howard Becker; Reuben Hill | Go to book overview
relatively costly equipment. Coupled with this factor is the relatively low casualty rate suffered by American military forces. Speaking with cold objectivity, this means the survival of more persons, with fewer reserves of wealth. Taxes must remain high for many years after the war, and the danger of inflation is more than a political bugaboo. These are the grim realities of the situation. Short-range stimulation and financial legerdemain may delay the operation of the inevitable, particularly in a land capable of taking so much economic punishment; but in the long run the financial prospect for large portions of American families is not bright.6. Are all the effects of war upon the family of a disorganizing or problem-creating kind?Not all the effects of war upon the family are problem-provoking. War, like other adversities, often binds families closer together. Suffering welds relationships as nothing else can. The realities of war dwarf into insignificance many of the trivialities of life, and this helps to reveal its abiding fundamentals. War calls forth a spiritual rejuvenation which may re-create the inner meaning of family life. Many a married couple, casual in the indifferent intimacy of the years, are bound together again in a common anxiety for children in their country's service. Other couples find life anew in the idealism of wartime service and translate this psychic renewal into their marital relationship. The background of a national crisis places in proper perspective the domestic squabbles and triangles which seemed so important in more placid days.Not all wartime separations produce tension or defensive coolness. A man and wife separated by half the world may come, perhaps for the first time, to assess their true devotion to each other. Just as one learns to skate during the summer and to swim in winter, so good husbands may be born in the discomfort of military barracks, and more forbearing wives be resolved in the loneliness of their wartime estate. War tries people's souls, and if some are weighed and found wanting and if others are lost in the process of weighing, there still are legion who find themselves anew in meeting the trial.The historical evidence on the positive side is scant. Only, it must be so. If war were so devastating for family life as some students have indicated, then the family could not have survived its own history. The resiliency of the family -- this is its answer to the wars of the past. The family has survived many wars.
SELECTED READINGS
ABRAMS RAY H., "The American Family in World War II," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Sept., 1943,
BECKER HOWARD, "After the Deluge," in symposium edited by Henry P. Jordan, Problems of Post-War Reconstruction ( Washington, D. C.: American Council on Public Affairs, 1942).
BOSSARD JAMES H. S., Marriage and the Child ( Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940), chap. 5.

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