Oklahoma. This was a place where Kathryn's workplace had a cussing jar, a quarter per swear, and the words written on it, “Let Go and Let God.” Here, Christianity was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and Oklahoma football was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and people could be decent and kind and judgmental, sometimes all at once, which was why, when Tracy told some Rotary Club friends that she and Kathryn were getting married, she kept her eyes planted above their heads so she wouldn't have to look at their faces.
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated, studied, rediscovered, denied, lamented, and defended. It's been noted by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.
In Korea, Changes in Society and Family Dynamics Drive Rise in Elderly Suicides - "The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation's runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries." [more inside]
“Commitment vows are very powerful, even in a cynical era when people aren't afraid of getting divorced,”
Families in Flux:"As household arrangements take new directions, scientists attempt to sort out the social effects" [more inside]
In 2002, Doug Monroe placed his parents in assisted living. A decade later, he's looking back at "the weighty financial and emotional costs that come with a parent's immortality": The Long Goodbye.
In Britain: Upper class, Upper middle class, Middle class, Lower middle class, Working class. An American on class.
"All families in OECD countries today are aware that childhood is being reshaped by forces whose mainspring is not necessarily the best interests of the child."
How does your country measure up as a place to raise kids? It turns out that growing up in the UK is a bleaker experience than in any other wealthy country. UNICEF studied all the wealthiest nations (full report PDF here), and the US and UK came in at the bottom on almost all indicators (material wellbeing, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risks, and the subjective feelings of kids and teens themselves ). Doing best for kids were the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. It turns out that GDP and material wealth alone does not ensure healthier or happier or more well-educated kids--the Czech Republic scored very well despite being one of the poorest nations surveyed.