Thursday, April 30, 2015

Six Healthy Family Features:

Thus says the LORD, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'  (Jeremiah 6:16)

  1. Healthy Families Prioritize Family
We talk more about supportive families than supporting the family.  Our society is interfering with the family-first feature.  There just doesn't seem to be enough time to get together.  We may promise over and over to visit and to spend more time together, yet we seem to find less and less time to do so.   When families do get together, the result is a rapid attempt to solve problems rather than enjoying and getting to know each other.  If your family does not come first, your family will not last.
We are in familial bankruptcy and have fallen into the hands of receivers such as schools, businesses, recreational pursuits, and numerous institutional demands.  The issue is not one of setting priorities; the issue is one of making difficult choices for the family.  There can only be one number one.
  1. Healthy Families Have a Tolerance of Failures
The family should be a forgiving place.  It is the one place in our life where we can receive unconditional acceptance for just being us.  All families have their real characters, those family members who have idiosyncrasies that can stretch patience to its limit.  Even at the most difficult times, the family is the place where we can be forgiven, accepted, and given a fresh start.  My uncle may be crazy but he is my uncle.
  1. Healthy Families Look Alike
When a family forms, something biological happens beyond the biology of conception and birth.  Families are not just social institutions but physiological processes shared by all of the family members.  Something biochemical happens when families live together over time.  Each family member's physiology begins to mirror the physiology of other family members.  Being family means becoming more and more connected with one another on every level of our humanness.
  1. Healthy Families Share Life Together
The family system is uniquely designed to help solve the problems of daily living.  The family is a soul center.  It is the place we learn what everything means and how to make everything meaningful.  Within the family system are multiple generational resources, an appraisal system of life based on the history and circumstances of each family.  These provide the ability to rally around a family member having trouble coping.  Whether we like it or not, we bring their work, school and life problems home with us.  The family is the place where problems must be taken for appraisal, for solving. If the family does not have answers, we will turn outside to have our needs met.
  1. Healthy Families Empathize
Someway, somehow, families develop a special sense for and of one another.  They can feel one another and sense when something is going wrong.  There is such a thing as "FEP," or family extrasensory perception.  It isn't mystical or parapsychological at all.  Such perception is simply the result of caring deeply enough about others to take the time and make the effort to really see them, to feel "us.”
  1. Healthy Families Have a Spiritual Core
Everybody needs a place – that place must be a place for persons, for unique, growing, changing, creating, generating persons.  It must be a place where the Christian faith is lived and transmitted;  where faith becomes the primary dynamic that shapes values and relationships; where parents become priests of their children.  Passing on the faith is by example and heart.  It is caught more than taught. The old adage, The family that prays together stays together is a truth too few families have experienced.

Scripture to Claim:
Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. … Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:1-2, 4-7

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Are the Needs of Family Members and Functions of the Family?

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

Families are a great gift from God.  They do serve a purpose for us other than just providing us with a name.  Our families fulfill certain basic needs we have as human beings.
Need: Protection – Security - Survival of the species
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (I Timothy 5:8)
Function: The family is the child's source of economic resources, which meet the various physical needs for food, shelter, and clothing. To ensure that new babies actually survive to become adult members of that society.
  • Need: Love - Unconditional Acceptance
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Function: In order for the family to meet a child's psychological needs, its members must be nurturing, convey mutual respect, provide for intimacy, and engage in bonding and attachment.
  • Need: Coping Skills – What do I do with negative circumstances and feelings.
BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (Ephesians 4:26)
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)
Function: Teach by example proper ways to deal with loss, grief, anger, others, etc.
  • Need: Belonging - Identity - Individual Attention and group acceptance.
…for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25b)
Function: The family conveys religious and cultural beliefs and traditions to the next generation. Not just who we are but WHOSE we are. Family Pride – Military.
  • Need: Social Skills – How to be received in society and to function.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Function: The family also socializes the child, guiding the child to be members of the society beyond the family. To ensure that children are satisfactorily socialized into the norms and values of society.
  • Need: Communication – To be heard, not just talked to.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, (Ephesians 4:25a)
Function: Provide open forum for any topic or subject.

Everybody needs a place. A place where a person feels a personal belonging, identity, security; growing, developing, connecting, relating; that there is core of people who are tied together in a bond of mutual love and respect. Our families are a gift from God to fulfill these needs for one another. There are times for all of us that our families may not especially feel like a gift but we need to remember how blessed we are!  Part of our purpose in God’s perfect plan is to help each other in our families with those needs, or else someone else will!  Statistics show that these needs will be met by someone.  When needs are not met within a family unit, people will find a “family unit” to meet their needs.  Usually this is not a good thing.  Let’s put aside ourselves and be there for our families to help meet the needs so a lesser substitute is not found. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Purpose of Family

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

The family is being viewed as little more than a temporary training ground, to be used and even abused until the nest becomes empty or a parent "gives away" their child to someone else in a marital ceremony while the respective families of the new marital partners sit divided on opposite sides of the church.

"When does life begin?" goes the old joke. "When the dog dies and the kids move out"
is the punch line.

Independence is seen as much more desirable than dependence, and staying too much a part of the primary family is viewed as immaturity, even failure to be "psychologically healthy."
Families don't exist just to raise kids. - We have replaced "familying" with "parenting." There is no such thing as "parenting."

When our society made the word "parent" into a verb, it suggested that parents do something to children. In fact, there is only "familying," parents and children sharing development together and raising each other. We all grow together in family. Each member is advancing into a new place and is in process of "becoming."

Families are nature's teamwork for the continuance of our human development.
Parenting our older parents is a difficult task that few of us are prepared for, and our social institutions offer little help.  We are dangerously close to "parent abuse," to a societal neglect of our extended family system. As a result, we attempt to drug our older people, isolate them, and work hard to deny the inevitable fact that we too are heading where they are.

Many Families are Flourishing
There are millions of families flourishing. They are loving and living together in happiness and joy, even as they struggle with the complexities of life in today's world. In fact, some of the strongest and happiest families I have ever seen have been families that have been made stronger than their pain.
If we define a healthy, happy family as one with no problems, then there are no happy families in the world. The erroneous assumption is that the goal of a "good" family is to be problem-free. We have tended either to create an unrealistic, idealistic model of the family from which we all fall short, or to talk about the terrible examples of family love gone wrong.

Families will share that the most stressful times in their family life are still remembered as some of the most loving times.

Instead of saying, "See what damage a dysfunctional family can do," we should be asking, "How could this family do so well under such trying circumstances?" or "How could he or she have come out so well from such a seemingly bad family experience?"

Families have a tendency to bond and draw closer sometimes during stressful times.  That is when we see just how valuable and how important we are to each other.  Strip everything away and what is left?  The people who love us unconditionally and the people who will be there for us no matter what.

Scripture to Claim:
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.  Psalm 103:17

Monday, April 27, 2015

We were made for family

And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? Psalms 71:18-19

God has always worked through families.  He spoke to Abram and told him that his purpose was to make him “the father of many nations.” The Bible record is all about families from generation to generation.  The church is referred to as family, the closest personal relationship we can have.

The family system is our God-given resource for strength, comfort and direction. Yet, we too often make the choice to try to "go it alone."

  • 75 percent of Americans believe that family is the most important factor in achieving personal happiness. Yet, we hear all around us that the family “just isn't the same anymore.” We have tried to redefine it in so many ways in order to fill its absence in our lives.
  • Religious groups, office colleagues and those with alternative lifestyles are now seen to operate as ‘family’. This new way of thinking about the family is radically different and is not based on correct biblical teaching.
Families aren't failing; we are failing the family
We have not learned the skill of family maintenance as we grow through life, of re-familying when the family is tom apart, or how to make our family function as our base for facing the world.  We have been taught that independence is real strength and that families are temporary places for preparation for real living. We give much attention and resource to raising our children while little emphasis is given to building our families.

Familying is much more than living under the same roof or blind clinging to our narrow view of what constitutes our blood-related group. Familying is "us-ing."

  • Familying is a chosen point of view of how, where and with whom we will lead our lives and give meaning to all that happens in our lives.
  • Our own family is where we experience and learn the family view and our method of loving of everyone in the world.
  • We live in a society that worships the individual. Being number one is seen as much more desirable than being one of the group.
The family is being viewed as little more than a temporary training ground, to be used and even abused until the nest becomes empty or a parent "gives away" their child to someone else in a marital ceremony while the respective families of the new marital partners sit divided on opposite sides of the church. 

No matter what you may hear, the family is not, in fact, gradually outliving its usefulness and is not in a state of decay and demise. The family is just suffering from severe neglect. The family can be the healthiest of places, and families are where we learn what "us" means. We will take this week to emphasize the institution of the family and how we can strengthen our families together.

Scripture to claim:
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  
I Corinthians 13:7

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