There are so many things one can observe and experience the longer you have the opportunity to hang around in this world. When you were a child or even a young adult, the more mature adults called it the “wisdom of age.” When we were young, most of us looked at that notion as a bunch of bunk: After all, who had the time to wait around and waste your youth waiting to gain wisdom?
You set a plan for your life and then go about filling it up with goals and aspirations. You accept certain debts, take on certain baggage and take on the world and all it has to offer.
But as you grow much older, you begin to realize there might be something to that wisdom stuff those mature adults were pedaling way back when. You begin looking at things in very different perspective and weigh life’s experiences against the realities of the day.
Change, it seems, is all around us. It’s always been there, but when you are young, change is seen as exciting and new. When you are older and more comfortable with life’s predictability, change can be unsettling and can flow against the grain of your life’s experiences.
So where am I heading with all this philosophical stuff about age and wisdom?
Certain news stories and headlines reflecting changes in our culture and way of life have become a frequent occurrence. Most of the time, we just accept them as just another change. Other times, we sit up, take notice and attempt to apply that long earned wisdom we now possess.
A recent poll, from my perspective, shook the bedrock of the human race. Through most of my life, and I think for centuries before if not the beginning of time, when man stopped being a nomad and began to establish roots.
A new Rasmussen survey found that 49 percent of American adults say buying a home is the best investment most families can make.
Maybe that number doesn’t sound earthshaking to you, but to me, your home was once seen as your castle regardless of how modest was the single highest goal most people had in life. It was the reward for hard work and the central location of your most valuable possessions. Generally, the largest expenditure a family will make in their lifetime was the investment in the family home. It was the icon of success, stability, and generally the source of great pride.
To me, it was a telling sign of the collective perception of how people think, where they place their values and what they see as the future. That only 49 percent of American adults see the home today as their best investment shows how our times have changed.
Now granted, a house is not nearly as valuable as the people who live in the home and the relationship of those people -- but to me, it speaks volumes as to the continued decline of the family structure. After all, what real purpose does a home serve except to provide shelter for the family? The home was more than brick and mortar -- it represented a certain pride of accomplishment. It was full of memories and its financial value served as a significant retirement once the family had left the nest or it became the inheritance handed down to future generations.
For the vast majority of average Americans, to not see the purchase of a home as their best investment tells me the home is no longer where the heart is and if our hearts are not in our homes, then where are they? Has the distraction of new technology and advancements in society altered our core thinking that much? Is it a continued sign that we are no longer concerned about future generations given the federal and state debt load we are passing along?
The responsibility to provide was once a primary driver for families and breadwinners.
I wonder what the next 10 or 20 years will do to the answer of this poll question and how the changing face of society may reshape the family, homes in which they reside and ultimately, our country.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.