Dorothy was right

Published 8:22 pm Friday, September 25, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times


There is within our society an institution whose influence is of such magnitude it has no rival. Neither Google nor Apple, as prevailing a force as they seem to be, can match this that has been in existence since mankind itself. This institution, of course, is the family unit. I shall go a step further. At its best, it is the two-parent, engaged family.

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It is within the sphere of this unit that individuals capture the value system they retain through life. It is here young hearts are set on a trajectory, a pathway, a course towards the meaning of life itself. Here they retain, not so much by what is said, but rather by observation what it means to be human, what is worthy of pursuit and what is to be avoided. This unit, when rightly understood, provides the security and safeness essential for the maturation of the young, and frees fresh minds to explore and inquire about the world around them.


The reverse is also revealing. In direct proportion to the breakup of this unit is the increase in societal challenges. Single parent homes are in direct proportion to poverty rates. Though we in Isle of Wight experience a rate of 10.5 percent compared to 11.1 percent in Virginia and 14.9 percent nationwide, it still cannot be divorced from the percent of single parent homes.


It has huge ramifications in our educational system. Ask any teacher about the tremendous challenges they face as a result, including discipline, test scores and graduation rates. It has grand repercussions in terms of unemployment, crime rate and incarceration. In effect, the breakup of the family leaves our communities to deal with the symptoms. It is not only extremely costly, but more importantly, it hinders individuals from being and achieving their highest.


I agree with Dorothy: “There is no place like home.”


Rex Alphin
Board of Supervisors