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Are there some answers for parents and families? What can we do as married couples? While there are no easy answers to this crisis of Americas children, I do believe there is a need for deeper commitment in three areas: in our marriages, in our families, and in our outreach to other hurting families. If we will act on these commitments, we can make a difference.
Dr. Money lists six principles that I believe can help refocus the areas that are so critical in our marriages, and our families. We all know how important communication is in any relationship, or do we? First we must develop good communication patterns. Good communication patterns mean being a great listener as well as expressing our point of view effectively. Part of the communication process is expressing appreciation to all in the family, which shows respect. Respect is so important to each member of a family and it must be communicated on a regular basis. I believe it is a direct way of showing love to one another.
|What is happening with Americas children?|
Cultivating commitment is important in marriage and family as well. One cannot simply decide to be more committed to family relationships. The decision must be accompanied by action. It is the development of certain qualities in the family relationship that produces commitment. What are those qualities? Here are twelve: respect, trust, acceptance, goals, affirmation, unselfishness, responsibility, understanding, honesty, participation, tradition, religion. How are you doing with these in your family?
Did you notice that last quality for cultivating commitment? Its our fifth principalaffirming religious values. Few things we say or do will live forever. What we teach our children about God and His plan for us can last eternally. As a parent are your spiritual roots strong? This quote sure made me think: In the eyes and attitudes of the parents and teachers who raise and educate them, children find mirrors through which the define themselves. What does your mirror reflect for children and others? There are many effects that Christian qualities have on the family but one of the most powerful is support and strength through crisis.
This brings up the last principle Dr. Money believes builds stronger families - dealing positively with crisis. A crisis can build and strengthen a marriage and family or, it can violently tear it apart. Does your family pull together and look for any positive that can come out of trouble? This can build momentum and confidence in a family if everyone can pull together. There are so many more details that could be discussed about intergrating these six principles into a family, so this is just the first place to start. Look around and see other opportunities to minister. You can begin by asking What about the other hurting families in our community?
I believe that more time needs to be spent in listening intently to childrens deep-seated worries and concerns. There is anger in these kids because mom and dad arent home. When they are home, they just arent listening to the kids concerns. Divorce and the fact that the kids concerns were not listened to closely causes anger that can last a lifetime. The social worker for the eleven-year-old rapist in Dallas said that he had repressed anger. Violence is too common on television and sometimes it is patterned in the home bottling that anger into a future generation to unleash its fury again.
How can we become more committed to help hurting families? Churches need to be on the front lines of the battles. God has supplied a pattern that works, but so many families do not know where to look. Does your church take a stand on reaching out to the needs of the community? Communities are concerned with the patterns of violence among our children and are looking for answers. What has your church done to show it cares and not just condemn the problem?
Lets make a difference! Please pray that we will give the time and attention to strengthening our own homes. Remember the six principles for building stronger families:
Also, pray for the children of your community, your state, and your nation. Be a Bible school teacher, a mentor, an example to a child. If you are a church leader find ways to reach out to the community to help with hurting marriages and damaged families. If you are looking for ideas and programs, my church takes a pro-active stance towards our marriage ministry. (You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A siren is a loud warningour warning is clear. The question for you is, how many more will you have to hear before you contribute to the solution?
Resources: Building Stronger Families, by Dr. Royce Money from Victor Books. Im proud to say he is now the President of my alma mater, Abilene Christian University.
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
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