For many of us, work is the one place where we feel appreciated. The things that we long to experience at home - pride in our accomplishments, laughter and fun, relationships that aren't complex - we sometimes experience most often in the office. Bosses applaud us when we do a good job. Co-workers become a kind of family we feel we fit into.
People who volunteer at the recycling center or soup kitchen through a church or neighborhood group can come to feel part of something 'larger.' Such a sense of belonging calls on a different part of a self than the market calls on. The market calls on our sense of self-interest. It focuses us on what we 'get.'
No work-family balance will ever fully take hold if the social conditions that might make it possible - men who are willing to share parenting and housework, communities that value work in the home as highly as work on the job, and policymakers and elected officials who are prepared to demand family-friendly reforms - remain out of reach.
Has Bill Clinton inspired idealism in the young, as he himself was inspired by John F. Kennedy? Or has he actually reduced their idealism? Surely part of the answer lies in Clinton's personal moral lapse with Monica Lewinsky. But more important was his sin of omission - his failure to embrace a moral cause beyond popularity.