Sociologists apply themselves to looking at social trends in
order to understand more fully the human condition.
One societal trend that has been noted recently is “The
Success Sequence.” I came across this subject in reading a
National Review article of July 5 entitled, “What If Major
Causes of Poverty Are Behavioral?”
He points out that the major cause of poverty plaguing one
generation after another is “family disintegration.” He says,
“Some cause of this remain unclear, but something now seems
indisputable: Among today’s young adults, the “success
sequence” is insurance against poverty.” He then cites the
study that supports this conclusion.
The success sequence is defined in the study is: get at least a
high-school diploma, then get a job, then get married, and only
then have children. “Wang and Wilcox, who did the study,
“focusing on Millennials 28 to 34, the oldest members of the
nation’s largest generation, have found that only 3 percent
who follow this sequence are poor.” In other words, if a
young person wants to avoid poverty and be successful follow
Sadly, this sequence for success is being followed less and less
in 21st century America. To make sure this sequence
continues, Mr. Will advocates promoting this sequence in
various ways to ensure that we do not substitute supposed new
realities in old principles that worked well.
The question is where did these old principles that worked
well in America for most of its existence come from? Mr. Will
does not explain.
Another author, Melissa Mackenzie, addressed the success
sequence on July 6, 2017 in a piece, in the American
Spectator, entitled, “Church, Family Millennials, and the
She agrees with George Will’s data, but she concludes the
values of “success sequence” have a very definite Christian
She writes, “Parents who believe that education, selfsufficiency,
and marriage before children are going to raise
their kids with those beliefs and more importantly, choose
environments that support those beliefs and strengthen those
beliefs. Their beliefs drive their reasoning which drives their
Ms. Mackenzie asks, “What institution reinforces lifeaffirming
beliefs and gives social and economic support to
people beyond their families? The State? No. The Church.”
We would agree because we know that the success sequence is
biblical and would be part of what the church would promote
for its young people.”
She further states, “The “old principles” that Will alludes to
are taught in church. Don’t fornicate or adulterate. Take care
of your children (I Timothy 5:8). Get married (I Corinthians
7:9). Work hard (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Don’t get divorced
(Matthew 5:31). Care for widows and orphans (James 1:27).
Take care of the hungry and needy (Matthew 25:35-45). How
The sociological study that points to the “success sequence” is
a recipe for a better life for all who follow the sequence.
As of July 2017, we find a diminishing number of young
people following this prescription primarily because of the
breakdown of the family and the trend away from church
attendance and adherence to biblical values.
As the Sabbath draws near, we can know that there is time
coming when the “success sequence” will be a worldwide
Have a pleasant Sabbath,