A young woman brings home her fiancé to meet the girl’s parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man.  So the father invites the fiancé into his study.  “So what are your plans?” the father asks the young man.  “I am a Bible scholar.” he replies.  “A Bible scholar?  Hmm, admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live as she’s accustomed to?”  “I will study,” the young man replies, “and God will provide for us.” “And how will you buy her the beautiful engagement ring she deserves?” asks the father.  “I will concentrate on my studies,” the young man replies, “And God will provide for us.”  “And children?” asks the father. “How will you support kids?” “Don’t worry, sir, God will provide,” replies the fiancé. The conversation proceeds and each time the father questions him, the young idealist insists that God will provide.  Later, the mother asks, “How did it go in the study?”  The father answers, “The bad news is, he has no job and no prospects,  but the good news is, he thinks I’m God!”

The Bronx (the only one of New York City’s five boroughs that is on the American mainland) once had this sociological distinction – in the Great Depression era of the 1930s, it was the only place in the whole of  America where new homes were still being built.  It was even described as “the city without a slum.”  But today, the south Bronx is one of the nation’s worst slums.  What happened?  Simple.  The generations that followed abandoned “The Sequence Of Success.”  And what is that?  The Family Studies division of the American Enterprise Institute funded a massive research project to find out what is the difference between young families doing well financially and those locked in the grip of poverty.  Led by two professors of sociology at the University of Virginia (Dr. Bradford Wilcox and Dr. Wendy Wang) the final report was called, “The Sequence Of Success”.  It listed four things, which if done in order, will almost guarantee success and not failure in the bank account.

#1 Go To School (Get a degree or at least a diploma.)

#2 Go To Work (Develop your skill, earning a salary.)

#3 Go To Church (Go to the minister and get married.)

#4 Go To Hospital (Become pregnant and have your children.)
Wilcox-Wang found that those who did follow, “The Sequence Of Success” had a poverty rate of just 3%. (And of the 97% who did not end up poor, 86% had  incomes in the upper-middle or top-third of the economic scale.)  On the other hand, those who did not follow “The Sequence Of Success” had a poverty rate of 75% with many finding themselves at or below the poor line and often required government assistance to survive  – many being single parents with no savings.

The bottom line?  There’s an old ditty, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes  baby in a baby carriage.”  It was wise then and it is wise now.  For when – “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.” you know what you have?  You have “The Sequence Of Success!”