Conversation #87: The Family Unit

I feel like I haven't written anything really meaningful lately.  I usually try to keep a mix of funny, light-hearted, with a dose of serious.  Lately, my blog has been more shallow (and that is okay most of the time because talking about serious stuff too much is just plain depressing). 

I have thought for a long time that a lot of "problems" in our country stem from the break-down of the family unit.  That may offend some of you, and I don't mean to.  My husband's parents divorced when he was young, and I do fully believe with love and most importantly, God, you can overcome anything and come out fine.  However, I also think if God were truly the center of all marriages, then there wouldn't be a break down, but we all know that isn't the case anywhere in the world.  (This also doesn't mean that I think marriages focused on God have no problems or struggles.  They do - believe me, I can share many of mine own.  However, I also know the only reason my husband and I made it through the first three years of marriage was because of the grace of God and His working in us where we were inadequate).

Okay, that was a long tangent/explanation/disclaimer.  My sister and I have often discussed what made us different than Joe Blow over here that is in prison, doing drugs, sleeping around, etc.  I wasn't born into wealth, but I was born into a strong family.  I'll be honest - sometimes I don't get why I got the family I did.  I feel such a sense of gratitude towards God and beyond blessed and lucky for being born in the country I was and to the family I was.  I know I would not have made it through a very dark time in my past and come out to be who I am had I not been blessed with the mother God gave me.  My family is my rock.  Even though I'm hundreds of miles away from them, they support me.  They are the first people I want to call (obviously my husband is the most important but thankfully he is not hundreds of miles away), and they always make me feel better and loved. 

In fact, the biggest fear I have about future motherhood is trying to give my children the same kind of family life I had.  (labor and delivery freak me out a little, too)  I know my parents aren't perfect, but thankfully they looked to God for guidance and He filled in where they lacked. 

Let's look at our education system for example.  In talking to many of my teacher friends, they have had to become the parents in a sense.  They have to discipline, teach, hold accountable, etc.  I think all teachers do that to some level, but they should never be doing it to the level they are these days.  Those responsibilities are the parents.  Too many teachers say that the parents don't care.  They aren't involved.  They don't ask about homework, projects.  They don't come to parent/teacher conferences.  They don't teach their children that they should work hard to be productive in life.  As one of my teachers said back in my high school days, "A change happened in America, where parents went from saying 'I want little Johnny to grow up to be a productive, good member of society' to 'I just want little Johnny to be happy.' "  (that might not be the exact quote, but you get the idea)  Unfortunately, "being happy" in this sense, I'm afraid often leads children into a path of self-centeredness.  When we are the center of our world, nothing works out right (again, I'm human, I can attest to that).

Our church is getting ready to start a series on family so I may have more nuggets and thoughts to share with you over the next few weeks, but for now I would like to share a link that my minister sent out to us.  This writer explains it much better than me.  Read it here.


zentmrs said...

As parents of kids who are invloved in a lot of activities, we see a lot of kids of parents who won't parent. Mothers who dress their little girls inappropriately saying something like "well, she just won't wear anything else" as if the little girl somehow had a job and bought the clothes herself. Pretty sure, given a choice between no clothes and appropriate clothes, we can all guess the little girl's choice.

Kids need parents, not friends. Well, they need friends too, but their friends shouldn't be their parents. I was lucky to have great parents. Sounds like you were too. :-)

Ashleigh said...

Thanks for writing this. Coming from a twice broken family I often wonder if people from healthy intact families get how lucky they are. I love my family but the brokenness is one reason I don't care to live nearby. It's a cycle I want to break. And I don't want my kids to be surrounded by divorce the way they would be if we lived in Houston.
I agree with everything you said.