Our family is one of our most precious gifts. Family members are available to lend a helping hand, make you laugh, be a support system and cheer you up. They help you overcome your challenges and offer guidance during those life-changing decisions you'll likely face. Unfortunately, our greatest gift, our family, is deteriorating rapidly.
Family advocates, Richard and Linda Eyre say that everything goes back to our families. In their new book, "The Turning," and a in a recently published Deseret News article, the Eyre's say that defining the family can be tricky. In their book, they explain that everything relies upon it.
"In reality, the individual household is the basic unit, not only of society, but also of our markets and all of our larger institutions. The present and future well-being of all institutions - from corporation to schools and from communities to governments - relies on the strength of our families."
If so much relies on the family, why are families so easily destroyed? Unfortunately, there are many types of attacks taking place. Here are three threats to your family you need to be aware of.
Our society has completely switched gears into what is normal behavior for a family. Unfortunately, what is now considered normal is destructive to family values. Research shows that more couples are choosing to cohabitate that choose to marry. Single parents now account for 35 percent of family households and half of all marriages end in divorce.
Divorce, cohabitation, no desire for children, pressure for a successful career instead of a family, these are all threats that are happening daily. We live in a society where nobody wants to commit. Nobody wants to give it all to a family. By spending time with our family and showing interest in family members' lives, we are showing commitment. By teaching our children the importance of marriage, we are helping fight off destructive family behaviors.
Materialism and pride
We have become a greedy and selfish society. Instead of thinking of others, we only think about ourselves. We want the best of the best and we skew our perspective of what truly matters. It isn't uncommon to hear of many individuals who put off marriage until they have a successful job, a home and a comfortable lifestyle. Many won't even consider marriage or children until they have reached their desired education level or have no more student loans to worry about.
In the Eyres' book, they explain that materialism is a threat as it teaches and pushes children to entitlement and selfish attitudes. Children grow up demanding items immediately. They don't understand that you have to work for things throughout your life. When parents give in and spoil children, they are only fueling this fire. And when children are old enough to face challenges in life, they give up and refuse to commit because it isn't want they want right then.
Eyes are closed shut
Even strong families are not immune to the threats that are attacking them. One large threat to the family is they go through life with their eyes closed. They do not see the attacks coming at them. The attacks come in such sneaky ways that it is easy to let them in. This is explained in "The Turning," as the Eyres say,
"If a paradigm - or the way we see something - is off or skewed (or blurred), then we have a false perception of reality, and we can fail to recognize a danger or fail to realize that we have the power or ability to solve a problem or resist a threat. Peer pressure, social media and selfish feelings are just a few of the false perceptions we may face."
So, how do we win?
Even though our families are under attack, it doesn't mean we can't fight. In fact, we must fight. We must protect our families. There are evil influences all around and if we aren't aware of how those influences will affect our families we will be lost. If you want to add some barriers and strongholds to your family, here are a few suggestions.
- Spend time together as a family regularly - preferably weekly.
- Spend time alone with your spouse on a daily basis.
- When your children need your attention, give it to them. Put away your electronics and other distractions, sink to their level and listen.
- Accept that you and your family will not be perfect and don't beat yourself up when mistakes happen.
- Keep yourself and your family members in good health so you have the energy to spend time together.
- Do not give into your children. Make them work for things they want and desire.
- Allow and create much laughter in the home.
- Keep an orderly home. Contention seems to decrease when the environment isn't in commotion.
- Travel together.
- Accept one another's differences and praise one another's accomplishments.
- Never speak unkindly behind anyone's back.
Your family truly is your greatest gift. Do all you can to protect it and cherish it.