What can we learn from the past as we invent the future for families?

I’ve always been intrigued with demographics and the stories that lie behind the statistics.


Recently two things caught my eye. One is the interactive map on Slate.com of employment for more than 3,000 counties across the country. Watching the nation’s map gradually change from blue (job gains) to red (job losses) between January 2007 and February 2009 is sobering.


Dalton Conley is a sociologist and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research whose new book Elsewhere, U.S.A. looks at how family life has changed over the past 50 years. What’s most interesting is the change in how we interact today and the way work and leisure time have merged so completely that many workers today are never really “off the clock.” They continue to work their social networks and build their information banks electronically.


How families are changing has huge implications for corporate America…so much so that the Partnership for America’s Economic Success (managed in part by The Pew Charitable Trusts) is underwriting 14 statewide business leader summits focusing on the ROI of business support for early childhood efforts. The National Center for Parents as Teachers is leading the Missouri summit in partnership with the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, the Missouri State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Missouri Early Childhood Coordinating Board and the Missouri Child Care Resource and Referral Network. If you’re a business leader, you need to watch for this invitation-only event.


There’s an old saying, “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” Why not make today the tomorrow we all planned for yesterday?