My mother always taught me that a person who has God and family need want for nothing else in life. Families are the foundation of society. If families are broken, then society will broken, too. The good news is that by restoring family life in America, we can also restore society.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and each family is unique. Having strong families doesn’t mean there should never be relationship problems or other challenges in daily life. Such issues are a natural consequence of family living and are to be expected. In recent decades, however, there has been a steady decline in the health of many families. There’s also much evidence that the family is under spiritual attack.
Families are central elements of society
When children are raised in loving homes, they learn to be caring, resourceful, productive citizens. If the health and strength of family life is threatened or undermined, it spills over in a negative way throughout the community. Anything that impedes parents’ capacity to care for and provide for their children not only places families at risk, but society as well.
Various issues plague our country today — issues that derive from deep within the functions and relationships of families. Poverty, chronic illness, substance abuse, divorce and domestic violence are on the rise. Many families deal with more than one of these problems at a time. The residual impact such issues have on society is both damaging and far-reaching.
Building blocks to strengthen families
Well-adjusted children who grow up to be active, productive contributors to society often have numerous characteristics in common. There are several constants that help build strong families. This sets a pattern for the future. Families fare best when they remain intact. While divorce doesn’t necessarily ruin children’s lives, there is ample evidence to show they benefit when the nuclear family stays together.
Structure and routine are also key components of a healthy family lifestyle. Mothers, fathers and children are strengthened through a shared and active faith life as well. Poverty can wreak havoc on today’s families; however, being wealthy is not a requirement for a healthy, happy, well-adjusted family life. It’s possible to build strong families with simple means.
Families change with generations
Many baby boomers and other older generations have lamented what they perceive as destructive attitudes in Millennials and GenZ. They say a sense of entitlement, laziness and selfishness pervades the younger generations. Such comments are stereotypical. Not every person born in these generations will exhibit the same behavior. However, a careful review of history often shows commonality or describable characteristics within particular generations.
For instance, the WWII generation is known for being resilient, hardy and hard-working. Baby boomers are known for touting “peace not war.” Sadly, current events involving rioting, looting and a seemingly endless line of protests against one issue or another often wind up painting Millennials and GenZ in poor light. Interaction between generations provides a solid foundation for families to learn and grow through the stories, experiences and lessons passed down through the years.
Create a peaceful home environment
The future of America depends on families. Author C.S. Lewis (Narnia and The Screwtape Letters) said, “It’s true you can’t go back and change a beginning, but you can start where you are right now to change the ending.”
Healthy characteristics that happy families have in common include open communication where family members are comfortable sharing their thoughts. Setting clear boundaries is important as well. Parents who teach their children that they must be held accountable for their choices and actions are giving their kids valuable tools to help them become productive members of society.
Strong bonds between family members are another key component to a healthy family lifestyle. Happy, healthy families understand that conflicts may sometimes take place, but family members can agree to peacefully resolve their differences. This is a life skill that is especially important in today’s world. Finally, a family may be happiest and healthiest when its members are willing to joyfully serve each other, as well as those in need throughout the community, and families who play together and pray together, stay together.
Hope for the future
These are hard times. Recent events have shaken many of us to the core. The streets are full of violence and hatred. It’s not fair to younger generations who deserve to look forward to a future of hope and opportunity to bring their own visions and dreams to fruition. None of us can turn back the hands of time. None of us can resolve the nation’s problems overnight.
What we CAN do, however, is focus on our families. If we restore our families, we restore our churches and communities. By restoring our churches and communities, we restore the nation. I believe there are dark forces in the world that seek to destroy families. Families are the foundation of our free society. Focus on your family. Pray through the rough spots and together, rise above. Refuse to participate in toxic behavior. Above all else, LOVE.