This week, Meridian is running a series of excerpts from the new book THE TURNING, by Richard and Linda Eyre. The Eyres are New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors and frequent contributors to Meridian. Their landmark new book THE TURNING: Why the State of the Family Matters and what the World can do about it is being published this week. Go to for further information, samples, and a link to order the book at a discount. On the strength of its pre orders, the book has already reached #2 on Amazon in the category of Marriage and family. You can also join “Team Turning” to become a part of a new pro-family movement. Today, we present excerpt THREE from the book.

turningOne of our main speaking clients over the past couple of decades has been The Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), a worldwide organization of Presidents and CEOs. To join, you must be forty or younger and head a company with revenues in excess of ten million dollars. By definition, these are young, educated, aggressive, type A personalities who want to be the best at everything they do, including their parenting and their marriages. They are, in a way, the prototype of a new kind of marriage and parenting, and a new kind of family that combines the best from the past and the best for the future.


They are-as evidenced by how often they bring us in to present to them in their various chapters around the world-very, very interested in developing strong and lasting marriages and families and in raising responsible and highly motivated kids.


Their divorce rate is low, and their kids are, generally speaking, solid, polite, and high achieving. These parents prioritize their families and devote a lot of time and mental effort to their relationships and their parenting. And while we can’t take much credit for any of it, most of them are poster families for the mission statement of our writing and speaking company, which is “FORTIFY FAMILIES by celebrating commitment, popularizing parenting, validating values, and bolstering balance.”


Curiously, what is happening in the world today is that more highly educated, more economically successful families are prioritizing and committing themselves to marriage and parenting with much more regularity and dedication than lower-income, less-educated parents. Frankly, hands-on parenting and real partnership in marriage is becoming “the thing to do” among young, upwardly mobile couples.


According to Richard Reeves, writing in The Atlantic, “A new version (of marriage) is emerging-egalitarian, committed, and focused on children. There was a time when college-educated women were the least likely to be married. Today, they are the most important drivers of the new marriage model. Their marriages offer more satisfaction, last longer, and produce more successful children. Against all predictions, educated Americans are rejuvenating marriage.”1


Fathers, in this new model of marriage, spend much more time with their children and are much more likely to share household duties with their wives. And the great thing about it, at least from our observation, is that these committed, aspiring families are not doing it out of duty but out of joy-they are working at their relationships because they have concluded that their family is what matters and what will make them happy.


Generally, it is the very demographic we are talking about here-the better-educated, higher-income group-who set patterns and start trends that are then followed by more and more of the population. We can only hope that this will be the case with more lasting and celebrated commitments and more popular and energetic parenting.


Our YPO clients mentioned earlier-genuinely committed to their marriages and their families-are in their 30s and 40s. They are Generation Xers-born between the early 60s and the early 80s-and it seems that the better educated they are, the more effort they are putting into their families.


But, when we find ourselves speaking to and interacting with Generation Y, or “Millennials”-the generation that ranges from late teens to early 30s, born between the early 80s and the year 2000-the story changes. Even among those in graduate school, the idea and even the desire for marriage and children is not nearly as strong.


In the book Baby Bust, Wharton Business School professor Stewart Freedman reveals that only 42 percent of the 2012 graduating class plan to have children-compared with 78 percent who answered positively to the same question in the graduating class of 1992. This means that, in only twenty years, the percentage of graduates wanting to have or adopt a child has declined almost by half.2


It’s not just that well-educated Millennials are planning to have smaller families and fewer children; it’s that more than half of them, at least in the Wharton graduating class, plan to have no children at all. The phenomenon of childless by choice is partially driven by the belief that a solid financial base should be in place before children come, and that in today’s world, obtaining and keeping that financial base is essentially incompatible with the time required to raise children.


It’s time for both Generation X and Generation Y to quit indulging and entitling their children. It’s time to help children become productive, self-sufficient kids who have financial savvy and who know how?to earn and budget and save and give. It’s?time for us all to start thinking of our kids as part of the solution rather than?part of the problem.

  And it’s time to stop listening to the discouraging myths of how impossibly expensive it is to raise a child.


To come to the same pro-family and pro-marriage conclusion that highly educated Generation X persons have, Millennials need to see more of the positive and joyful aspects of family and less of the scary and expensive ones. They need to see and appreciate more good reasons for having families. They need to see more people celebrating commitment and popularizing parenting.


Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at  and preview their new book THE TURNING at


* Richard V. Reeves, “How to Save a Marriage in America,” The Atlantic, February 13, 2014.

* Stewart D. Freedman, Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family (Pennsylvania: Wharton Digital Press), 2013.

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at and preview their new book THE TURNING at