Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gradual Decline

An old friend invited my family over for dinner and play time (kids of course) and for some reason they started talking religion and politics at dinner. These generally aren't safe topics to discuss with people, especially people you know you'll disagree with. My wife and I did our best to stay safe, but... To sum up: I was astonished with their opinion of the world. According to their view, the world is getting worse and worse and is in a gradual decline. Kids are loosing respect for their parents, becoming stupid and lazy and their parents are to lazy to care. More and more teens are getting pregnant. The world, "have you read the Bible", is becoming worse and worse. Etc. Doom, right?

Maybe its me but I don't think that. I think the world is becoming a more and more exciting place. Perhaps its my optimistic tenancies (my personality profile says I'm an optimist so don't disagree), or perhaps it is truth. I've heard of statistics saying kids are smarter (or more knowledgeable) than decades past. I've heard that teenage pregnancy is down. I've heard that children are doing more and doing better in school than their parents. Maybe its my optimism getting the best of me. Unfortunately, on top of my optimistic tendencies is my skepticism. I need to know, is the world in a decline? Given the subject matter I guess, I would be referring to a a social decline as we American's narrowly view it.

Teen Pregnancy, up or down?
DOWN! According to this study, the number of teen pregnancy's has reduced significatly. Of additional note and further proof (at least to me) that things are not declining is that the total abortion rate has also declined, in 2002 it was almost half of what it was in 1986. I don't want to start debate, and I'll say I believe strongly in a woman's right to choose. However, I feel the best choice is to choose life.

Drop out rates, up or down?
DOWN! From 1972 to 2005, the drop out rate has decreased (in total) from around 15% to the lowest its ever been, 9% according to this study. This table provides a real quick look at the statistics. (My DW, dear wife to those not in tune with the lingo, commented on this the other night saying its now law to stay in school, but I haven't researched that or how, or when, it may have impacted this particular study.)

As with any statistics, they can be skewed to reflect the views of the presenter. So perhaps I am really, truly seeing what I want to see. Regardless, I refuse to live in a world destined to destruction and decline. I have high hopes for the future, for my children and my grandchildren, and their kids for ever and ever. I'm excited for them to live their lives as much as I look forward to living mine. It brings extreme joy to my mind thinking of the future. The bright shining, lovely future.