My husband went to California for a business trip a few weeks ago. While he was away, I found myself doing something completely out of character: turning on the TV while cooking or reading the paper. A silent house seemed lonely. In 1960, only 13% of households were single adults. By 2021, that figure had more than doubled to 28%.
Some people who live alone aren’t alone, but many are. A Cigna study found that 80% of Generation Z and 70% of Millennials report feeling lonely, and more than 3 in 5 Americans say they often feel left out, misunderstood, and/or lacking in companionship.
We did not evolve to live alone, and as the rabbi noted at our wedding several decades ago, one of the first things God spoke about mankind in the Garden of Eden was, “It is not good for man to be Alone”. The literature of the social sciences confirms this unambiguously. Married people are happier, healthier, and wealthier than their single peers, and children of married parents perform better on every metric than those raised in single-parent families. But most Americans seem unaware of this data. Only a minority of Americans say single women raising children alone are bad for society (although the proportion of people concerned rose from 40% in 2018 to 47% in 2021), and 50% of women believe it doesn’t. difference.
However, intact families matter, for the well-being of adults yes, but even more so for the children they raise. While Valentine’s Day is usually devoted to the joys of romance, the just-concluded Super Bowl offers an object lesson in the importance of what romance can lead to when yoked to responsibility: raising well-adjusted, successful people. You’ve heard all about Super Bowl LVII being the first ever to feature two black quarterbacks. Another story is that both Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts were raised by married couples who featured devoted fathers.
Hurts’ father, Averion Hurts, is the head coach at Channelview High School near Houston. In fact, he was Jalen’s coach. Jalen’s mom is Pamela Hurts, a special education teacher and chair of the special services department at Anthony Aguirre Junior High School.
It doesn’t seem like it was all sunshine and roses growing up as the coach’s son. ESPN described Averion as “the kind of guy who can change the temperature of a room just by walking into it”. They say he was especially tough on his sons Jalen and Averion Jr. to preclude any charges of special treatment. He has become part of Jalen’s armor. When he was reprimanded by Eagles coach Nick Sirianni (also the son of a coach), he let the coach know that he could handle it.
His father was also his mentor and rock. In a pre-Super Bowl interview, he volunteered: “It’s the reason I am who I am on the field, off the field. Being the son of a coach, I always talk about it, but I really rely on it. To always compete, to always give my best, to always show respect for the people around me. I think these are some key things that he instilled in me. I always come back to… being a coach’s son. … These are special times. But I learned so much and watched him drive.
Patrick Mahomes is the son of Pat Mahomes and Randi Martin. Randi always knew Patrick would excel at whatever sport he chose and recalls “I had to stop him from training when he got into trouble as a kid.” Pat was a professional baseball player and now runs a sports podcast. Randi is an event planner. The couple divorced in 2006 when Patrick was 11, but both remained very involved in Patrick’s life. Pat didn’t miss a single one of his son’s games, and Patrick honored him by naming his first son as his father (it’s actually Patrick Lavone Mahomes III). When Patrick was asked if he ever felt the pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps, he said, “Not at all. My father always thought only about my future. He knew that once I made the decision to get involved in football what it meant to me: that I loved this game and I always had his full support”.
Both quarterbacks have given back to their communities through charities. Mahomes has a foundation that distributes books to Kansas City schools and provides other support to children in need. Hurts has volunteered for the Eagles Autism Foundation, Operation HOPE, and several youth soccer camps.
In this age of angry, rootless young singles and bizarre incels joining online cults, these two are role models, at ages 24 and 27, of what mature, down-to-earth men should be. Earth. Both had devoted parents with high standards. It’s not that complicated. Parenting is the key to nurturing responsible and admirable citizens.
Mona Charen is Policy Editor at The Bulwark and host of the “Beg to Differ” podcast.