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

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