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Editorial

Around Our Town...Family


11/01/2004 - ""The "Future" of Marriage and The Family

Welcome to a new publication and a new column! As a way of briefly introducing myself, I am a licensed marriage and family therapist who has been practicing in this community for over 16 years. In 1988, I came to Casper as a somewhat "green" therapist and began working at Central Wyoming Counseling Center. After five years of professional growth and fulfillment working with CWCC and doing substance abuse counseling for adolescents in the junior high and high schools, I came to Highland Park Community Church to set up a counseling program.

As I was thinking about writing a column for this magazine, my mind went back to graduate school (I received my Masters' in 1981). How things have changed since then! The textbook we used for one of our classes was The Family, Marriage, and Social Change by Richard Clayton (copyright 1979 by Heath and Company). In this book there is a chapter dedicated to the future of marriage and family. They cite the writings of behavioral psychologist John B. Watson, sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin, and political scientist Barrington Moore, Jr. (among others). Watson stated in 1927 that family standards were on the way to a complete breakdown and that children would be completely out of control by 1977. In 1937, Sorokin expressed his belief that the family as a sacred union of husband and wife, parents and children will continue to disintegrate – the main socio-cultural functions of the family will further decrease until the family becomes a mere overnight parking place mainly for a sexual relationship. More recently (1958) Barrington Moore, Jr. suggested that the family system as it was back then could not survive the forces of technological change.

The predictions of these men have not been totally fulfilled. However, their concern for the basic institutions of marriage and family are concerns that I share. I believe that strengthening marriages and family relationships will strengthen our community and our society as a whole. With this foundation, my purpose in writing this column is to present information and offer suggestions that will assist in the process of helping married couples stay together, helping single parents cope, helping moms and dads survive the challenges of parenthood. We will hopefully provide some ideas for dealing with stepfamily issues as well.

I would love to hear your comments, ideas, suggestions, and questions.

Please feel free to send them to:

Ron Kirkegaard

411 South Walsh Drive

Casper, Wyoming 82601

Email: rkirk@hpcc.cc

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