I read an article recently about why school reform efforts in the United States have mostly failed. The reason cited there was that the root of educational success was related to economic status; those from impoverished homes would be less successful, and the rates of poverty continue to climb. A vicious cycle would continue and spread. In terms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, those conclusions certainly stand to reason. If basic needs are not being met (such as food, water, security), then the interest in meeting the needs of esteem and self-actualization are low. BUT . . . I think there may be a bit of a flaw in Maslow's theory. I believe that children whose basic needs may not be met, but whose needs for love and belonging are, then perhaps that's enough for them to go on in order to have a desire to learn, create, and excel. If this were not true, how else could people ever break the chains of poverty?
My point is, I believe that children coming from poor, but loving homes and families will still be very capable of being successful in terms of their education. The real culprit for educational failure is the breakdown of the family. Stable, loving families are increasingly hard to come by. Our society encourages, "Do what's right for you." Many people are looking for their own self-fulfillment, and increasingly they're choosing to look for it outside of raising families. I'm not at all saying that parents shouldn't continue to seek growth as individuals. I am saying that there has to be a balance of people being parents to their children (versus friends/roommates), being a good spouse, and seeking personal growth. If anything, go heavy with your focus on being a spouse and a parent because there is nothing in life that will challenge an individual the way building a family based on gospel principles will. Absolutely nothing. There are growth pains involved, but it's growth! And I'm thankful that I get to participate in the Lord's plan this way.