The Blessings of the Family for Nations and Homes
It is a difficult and dangerous time for the family. Yet during this Holiday Season, as so many turn their thoughts towards family and loved ones, it is important to step back from the fight and remind ourselves why the family is so worthy of defense-why we, as individuals, communities, and nations, cannot survive without the blessings of this indispensable structure.
The Importance of the Family
The family is the basic unit of society through which every individual is blessed, by which every generation is raised, and upon which every nation is built.
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, once said, “”The family is the building block of society. It is a nursery, a school, a hospital, a leisure center, a place of refuge, and a place of rest.”
This statement captures the profound and varied blessings provided by a loving and healthy family. These are not simply pleasant gifts that can be substituted with alternative and varied relationships. The traditional family-with a loving father and mother caring for their biological children-is uniquely structured to best provide the love, support, acceptance, and stability necessary for individuals, children, and societies to thrive.
The Blessings of the Family for the Individual
Both men and women are blessed by stable marriages and families. Research consistently shows that individuals within strong families are happier, healthier, safer, more financially sound, and more productive. They experience less depression, take better care of themselves, are happier at their jobs, find more fulfillment in life and experience less illness.
Additionally, marriage and families provide innumerable intangible blessings-such as love, belonging, security, self-sacrifice, and purpose-that are not found or developed as fully in any other relationship. Individuals are at their most loving and self-sacrificing within families.
The Blessings of the Family for Children:
The evidence in support of the family is in no place more unanimous and convincing than in research on the importance of family for the development and happiness of children. Study after study indicates that strong families-with a married biological mother and father-are the best environment for rearing children.
Children raised in traditional families have fewer psychological problems, do better in school, have higher self-esteem, are less likely to use illicit drugs, build stronger relationships, and have fewer behavioral problems than children from broken or single-parent homes. Although the ideal relationship between a married, biological mother and father cannot always be met, all evidence indicates it is an ideal worth striving for.
The Blessings of the Family for Society:
Theodore Roosevelt once captured the importance of the family when he said, “[I]t is the life of the family upon which in the last analysis the whole welfare of the nations rests. . . . The nation is nothing but the aggregate of the families within its borders.” Strong nations are built out of strong families, not the other way around. No government policy or community program can ever replicate its structure or fulfill its manifold functions.
The family provides the ideal structure through which the most natural and ennobling human affections are focused to promote the safety, welfare and development of all involved. It channels biological drives towards love of others, ensures the well-being and education of children, ties every generation to the next, and secures the welfare of every individual by providing a familial safety net. Government can never create enough programs to compensate if this structure fails.
As the New Year approaches let us all recommit ourselves to strengthening and enjoying our own families. We cannot stave off the attacks of those who would see the family erased from society unless our own families are vibrant and strong.
This simply means we must continue doing what so many of us already do: spend time together, communicate, sacrifice for each other’s welfare, and promote the happiness of spouse and children. These simple acts not only bring happiness and fulfillment to our own lives but literally strengthen our nations and bless our posterity.