Sample Essay

A Harper’s Monthly Magazine essayist in the 1930’s wrote:

If, through our segmentalized manner of living, the child is deprived of the steadying influence of the the parent, it is no less certain that the parent is losing the child. Should I wish really to know my boy or girl (and this will be increasingly true as they grow older), I must go out into the community to gain my knowledge. I must go to the playground supervisor or to the Y.M.C.A. in order to discover his athletic and social adjustments. . . What he is, in himself, as apart from all these pigeonholds and compartments, I have no way of knowing. He has ceased to be, for me, an intimately experienced personality, but has become a case study. I am no longer a parent, but a social worker. . . . 

 Just as the bond between husband and wife is tending to become one merely of sex love, so the contact between parents and children is narrowing down to an intense but purely emotional affection. The break-up of home life does not, as some think, liberate the young from the tyranny and repression of an older generation. For what really enslaves the young is not the customs of the past, but too narrow a love. (Analysis of Family as and in Social Institutions)

She reflects on the idea that the institution of family has deteriorated because the purpose has simmered down to providing things for their children whether it is a membership to the YMCA or an admission to a private school with an expensive tuition. The love is too ‘narrow’ because it is defined by things.

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