It has been said that a home that’s filled with the light of Christ’s truth and the warmth of his love radiates joy far beyond its walls. The family, especially in the Christian sense of it, plays an essential role in our baptismal call to be disciples and missionaries. Each member of the family is called to holiness and to reflect this holiness in his or her state of life.
The following are some thoughts on family and the important role it has to play in our society to make it a much safer and happy place for all people to live and enjoy:
The family should be such an effective voice for the things that matter.
The family should be sharing its faith with other families.
The family should become a saving community in such a way that it is communicating Christ’s love to others in word and action.
The family should be such that it succeeds in living love as communion and service as a reciprocal gift open to all.
The family should be such that it has to receive and transmit the divine love realized in the mutual commitment of the spouses, in generous and responsible procreation, in the care and welfare of the children, work and social relationships, with attention to the less fortunate and the deprived, in participation in church activities, and in commitment to civil society.
The family should become an evangelizing community by accepting the Gospel as it matures in faith.
The family should impact the entire society by its positive example.
The family should be educating children in moral values in such a way that they would grow morally upright and mature.
The family should be fostering an environment where children learn skills, morals, and values.
The family should create structure and stability in the lives of family members.
The Holy Bible contains the words of God. It is a manual for what could only be good for us. It guides, directs, and shows the way.
The concept of a family comes from God. He performed the first marriage in the persons of Adam and Eve, blessed them, and told them to multiply and occupy the whole face of the earth.
God wants married people to be happy. But man’s fall to sin has ruined it all. Yet He ransomed us through Christ Jesus so that what was being lost to sin would be restored as new.
For the husband and wife, God has this to say, to quote from Ephesians chapter five, verse thirty-three: “Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Upon the arrival of their first child, the couple would no longer be just husband and wife but as new parents. It is both a duty and responsibility. They’re now a family. Obedience to God is the key to have a happy family life.
As for the parents, the Lord God said to them in the book of Ephesians chapter six, verse four: “Do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and admonition of the Almighty.”
He even made it clear about what responsibility do they have as what was stated in Deuteronomy chapter six, verses four to nine and in Proverbs chapter twenty-two, verse six: “You need to take the time to teach your children about God. Starting when they are very young, patiently help each one to become God’s friend.”
In Jeremiah chapter thirty, verse eleven and in Hebrews chapter twelve, verses nine to eleven, God instructed about how parents should discipline their children: “You need to discipline your children but never in anger or with cruelty.”
The family is considered as the basic unit of society from which the foundation of the nation is structured. There should be laws acknowledging the father and mother to jointly exercise parental authority over their legitimate children who are not emancipated. Every parent should know that parental authority is both a right and duty.
Such an authority should be natural and essential for the governance of the family. It should be natural in a way that is flowing from the responsibility of procreation and education of the offspring. It should as well be essential in such a way that no family goals are attainable without it.
Child rearing is the process by which parents prepare their children for adult social life. Children should be raised to honor and respect their parents. Every parent should know that there’s no such thing as perfect parenting and that child rearing should be individualized depending upon the nature of the child.
There’s no child reared without some problems, so that the notion of a “problem child” should be a falsity. Children with problems are what every parent should be figuring out to fix, instead. Both parents should be playing active roles in child rearing.
Fatherhood, for instance, is a lifetime responsibility, so that once you become a dad you don’t stop from being one. A dad should not be rearing a child so that he or she may continue to be a child but, rather, he should be raising sons or daughters in such a way that they would be able to properly take their place in the adult world.
When my wife was pregnant for the first time with our son Nathaniel, she experienced a lot of physical changes in her body. There’s this morning sickness during the first few weeks of her pregnancy she had to endure, increased appetite, sleepiness, and many more. She even gained weight.
I knew then that life would never be the same again between us with the coming of our first baby, but we had to face the music by making some adjustments. A well-balanced diet, exercise, and rest are vital to her having a healthy pregnancy. I knew, too, that, as a couple, we have to be ready to embrace the new role and status as mom and dad from being just husband and wife.
Nathaniel’s birth has given me a greater feeling of satisfaction and joy. I came to love my wife even more; our bond of love was strengthened by our common interest and responsibility toward our child. For me, fatherhood has become one of the most maturing of experiences. There’s so much of a depth of emotions involved in it as well as that of a powerful train association.
While this may be the case with me, I knew that it won’t always be the same with other dads out there. The dramatic changes to occur with the arrival of a couple’s first child may result to marital conflicts to some. It could also be a source of depression, confusion, impatience, and suicidal instinct, to many, for one reason or another.
To become a dad is never easy. But what’s making the transition to fatherhood even more difficult is the lack of preparation or, if there’s any, it was too little for such a very important, life-changing role. Another one is drastic change of role from non-parent to parent. It should be gradual, allowing the subject a period of slowly increasing responsibility.
Becoming a dad is to assume greater responsibility in the character building of the child as he grows up. His words should carry more weight than that of his wife since he is considered as the pillar of the family. The father is the commander-in-chief, so that he should be seen, more effectively, keeping his constituents under control.
A dad should be getting more involved in child rearing and one who should be showing unconditional love to his wife and children. Fatherhood, for him, should be the taking care of the child not only that he or she may survive physically, but that for his child to find a place for himself or herself in the community of persons. He should know that each of his children has a right to a fruitful and happy life in accordance with his or her human dignity.
For first time parents, their baby’s birth marks the transformation from a couple into a threesome. Such a change is good since it could expand their horizons while, at the same time, focusing on the new family unit they have created. It is also a time for greater adjustments taking place, keeping your cool, developing tolerance for frustration, and a case of balancing act like, for example, how to keep the intimate relationship between husband and wife fresh while they have to spend so much time in meeting the needs of their baby.
Like a beautiful flower in the garden, a family grows together well over the years on unconditional love, patience, understanding, trust, perseverance, faith, hope, and communication. The birth of an eagerly anticipated baby is just the beginning. You could build on this miraculous start a strong foundation, and one which allows you to invest in a long and happy future as a close knit family.
Every relationship has its own unique challenges. How a husband and his wife, in this particular case, handle the transition in their lifestyle could bring them closer together as a couple. Here are few but important suggestions on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner:
ALWAYS KEEP LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN
This is very important. When either of the husband or wife could talk about their feelings, it is one best way to connect to the other person. It prevents assumptions and misunderstandings that would most likely occur between two people who shuts up or closes door.
MAKE TIME TO BE ALONE
Yes, you have to make time to be alone with your partner or for the two of you to go for a date or meet with friends without your baby. You could leave your baby to a trusted nanny or a relative staying with you for at least an hour so both of you could go out dating. Make time to be like when you’re still boyfriends and girlfriends.
MAKE A THREESOME BONDING
The time you’re spending with your partner and baby, is worth every second of it. You could schedule relaxation with the three of you together like walking in the park, a family picnic, or sitting quietly in your living room.
ALWAYS SHOW KINDNESS
You have to speak kindly to your spouse. Aside from having to express your kindness verbally, you have to also express it through your actions. Someone once said that kindness, whether in words or actions, are more healing to a sinking heart than balm or honey.
You may find the title of this article quite intriguing, but it was a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, a nineteenth century American poet, medical doctor, lecturer, professor, and author. Educating a child who was yet to be born one hundred years into the future may sound most improbable to many people. How could that ever be possible?
Trying to understand, in my own way, what the quote has to imply, I came up with something I need to ask myself in the first place: what does it take or mean to educate the whole child? I had to live by the fact that the way I brought up my own child today would have a significant impact on the kind of education my future great grandchildren would be getting or introduced to one hundred years hence. So one hundred years hence might be something quite different for my great grandchildren, and it should start from me.
A child gets his first education at home, directly from his parents and from the other people in his life closest to him. The lessons a child learns from this experience will serve as a compass to guide him for the rest of his life. A civilized society is the direct result of empowered, well-informed families.
It is through the family, universally considered and accepted as the basic unit of society and as the nucleus of civilizations, that the blueprint for communities and governments are modeled. Meaning to say, if we want to have a community where there is less crime and less poverty, a school that truly educates or impacts people positively, a stronger church that truly promotes morality and the spiritual capacity of a person in general, we have to empower or build stronger families first. Stronger families mean stronger societies.
Holmes most probably believed or suggested that the kind of education you would like for the next generation to have or acquire starts today, right now, with you. Child education, for the most part, lies in the way families are treating their own children and that could pass on from one generation to another. Education is a continuous, never ending process so that one keeps on learning, learning, and learning.
There’s quite a little difference between educating a child and to provide him with some schooling. Education is, in my humble opinion, the bringing up to the highest level the experiences, facts, and thoughts and ideas gained by a person over a lifetime. That’s what learning is all for and about. Schooling is, on the other hand, the formal part by which learning is gained with a hope of making you a functional person.
While one may be gaining a great deal of education from getting schooled, yet there is more to education than what academic learning can do and offer, than what was being taught in schools. An educated person is someone who understands human nature and knows how to establish, improve, and maintain relationships with other people regardless of race, gender, creed, and status in life. He becomes a well-rounded, analytical person that actively participates in the world around him.
Next to the family, schools play a very important role in educating the young minds of a particular society. Teachers and parents should collaborate in finding specific qualities they felt an education should seek to develop in their kids. Teachers and students should be interacting as whole persons. A school should be treated as a whole community.
If you’re one of those parents who wonder what more they can do to protect their children from others and from their own selves, then relax as everything is going to be just fine. There’s no such thing as a perfect parenting and all you can do is learn from your mistakes and to come out with a better version of yourself next time around. You will make a lot of mistakes and you’re going to fail, at times, as well but you have to regroup and continue what you are best at.
As a parent, you had this strong desire of wanting to make sure that your child gets his emotions across and that you’re going to hear, validate, and value him as a child. You feel like you have to re-evaluate your life and to get rid of some things in your life so you have more time for your kids. I hope the following tips on how to raise emotionally healthy kids can help:
SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Make your child feel how important they are to you by spending quality time with them. There is nothing that will nurture a relationship like togetherness.
EXPRESS YOUR AFFECTION OFTEN
Saying the words “I love you” every single day is not enough. You have to express it in action as well. Expressing your affection could mean a lot of things in a lot of ways. A simple way of caring is one of them.
HEAR WHAT YOUR CHILD IS SAYING AS WELL AS WHAT HE’S NOT SAYING
Encourage him to express his thoughts, emotions, and ideas. As a parent, you should be the very first person to know what’s going on inside your child and you should have the best knowledge of and about him.
BE INVOLVED IN YOUR CHILD’S LIFE
Invest a huge chunk of your time getting to know your child and to know what he’s doing and who his friends are. Make your child’s basketball games and other activities, for example, a family affair.
BE A GUIDING LIGHT
Your child needs guidance and he needs to experience life to learn from it. If you as a parent failed to set boundaries for your child he will grow up with little regard for the law and others. A child who is protected from disappointment will grow into adults who can’t handle life.
It is your duty to help your son or daughter to think through his or her actions and to experience, within reason, the consequences of his or her actions. When the behavior requires discipline, then you have to make sure the punishment is appropriate to the action.
HELP DEVELOP YOUR CHILD’S SELF-WORTH
More often than not, parents tend to focus on mistakes their kids are making. It’s easy to notice what they do and comment on that all day long. While it is acceptable to point out mistakes and misbehaviors, if that’s the majority of what a child is hearing from you, he will grow up thinking there’s not much right with them.
Parents should help their own children to build on strengths instead of putting emphasis on their weaknesses. It can be done by looking for what parts your child is doing well and comment on that as well.
HONOR YOUR MARRIAGE AND YOUR SPOUSE
A strong marriage is vital to producing happy children. Both you and your spouse should be working on your marriage together relentlessly. Try to keep it playful and fun also.
HELP YOUR CHILD DEVELOP HIS HABIT OF HAPPINESS
If you’re the kind of parent who had a positive outlook of life, then you’re helping to pass that along to your child. Responding positively when your child is enthusiastic about something is also one of the ways to do it. You have to encourage your child to talk about the good things in his life.
It is good to remember that happiness is a feel-good emotion strongly tied to self-esteem. When you’re feeling good about yourself, it generates from the sense that you are doing the right thing and making good decisions.
HELP PROMOTE OR BUILD FAMILY TRADITIONS
There should be time for a family to worship together. The connection to God helps to connect families. Set at least a day each week as family day. Celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other important events involving your children and spouse. Celebrations are equally valuable and as a means to unite the family.
THE VALUE OF FAMILY MEALS
Make the most of your family mealtime talking about interesting topics like, for example, your plans for the day. Encourage each member of the family to share. You should be doing that in order to keep in touch with what your kids are doing, what they dream about, who their best friends are, what their favorite subject in school is, and so on and so forth.
Knowing your kids in this way is vital to their well-being. Some studies suggest that a lack of connection in families can help to perpetuate some of the teen violence. But the key to raising emotionally healthy children is in making sure that your kids are first and foremost in your life and for them to know and feel they are.
The moment your son is able to identify the persons he considered important in his life, interactions of groups and the formation of social hierarchies will be slowly comprehended and stored into his young mind for further processing and interpretation. One best way to accept and understand hierarchies, from a parental perspective, is to recognize their natural occurrence through basic social structures like family, schools, and teams. The child’s relationship to his parent is crucial to the development of such a kind of awareness that requires the child to totally submit to parental authority.
Which does not mean a parental dictatorship should be established also, depriving your child the freedom he deserves to enjoy, and leaving no room for him to make his own decisions and personal choices matter. But it is, rather, all about making your son recognize the fact that you have the final say in important matters, being the commander-in-chief of the family, and the one to make decisions regarding his well-being. Still, your child has every right to complain and explain whatever it is he thinks can be good or bad for him and you have to deal with that kind of thing like a true diplomat.
Once a parental authority is weakened or lost, it is difficult to gain it back. That’s why it is important to take every little opportunity seriously that contributes to the establishment of natural hierarchies. By simply allowing your child to have too much power to call the shots, you’re on your way to getting ignored or even ousted.
A child has the tendency, when you let him, to push boundaries further and further and it will take longer a time for you to bring his reasonable behavior back. As your child comes to like what his newly acquired power or control can do for him, he then experiments to try leveraging such a power for power’s sake. The outcome is easy to predict, learning from history in the politics of nations can also be true in how the family can function as a political unit, social chaos takes over when every interaction is marked by manipulation.
The importance of having a strong leadership in the family should not be taken lightly. Of course, it does not always mean, for a father trying to establish an authority figure, implementing strict rules, rigidity, and punishment. Leadership can be defined in many ways but, as a father who governs a family, it is about how you treat your own sons and daughters including your wife and the way you solve problems together.
It is about clearly supporting and articulating, through your words and actions, the values of the family. You have to consistently make your constituents feel your love and compassion. Most importantly, a good father and as a leader is one who has a positive attitude and conveys his belief in his sons and daughters without pressuring them.
Saint Joseph, the spouse of Mary, should be looked upon by all Roman Catholics or even non-Catholics alike, as the best example of a human father at its finest. Although he was not the natural father of Jesus, his marriage to Mary became the juridical basis for his brand of fatherhood the world would come to know. This union became increasingly important as the love of husband and wife will find its most complete expression in the conception of their child.
He willingly accepts the challenge while remaining as faithful a husband as he can be to his wife. Of course, it will not be an easy task for him. There are lots of storms he will have to weather on a daily basis. The following are some of the many best qualities Saint Joseph possessed making him a model for fathers:
He was a model of humble practice of obedience.
He was best in his silences and even better through the hidden life of hard work he was leading.
He was able to rediscover the value of simplicity, obedience, trust, and respect.
He was a good spouse.
He was a loving father.
He knows how to rule the family and to serve it.
He was a man of faith.
He was a gentle, loving man.
He was a protector of the family many considered as the original cell of social life.
He was the first guardian when the family’s safety is in great jeopardy.
He was a good follower.
He obeyed what God wanted him to do without complaining.
A lot more could be said about the good qualities Saint Joseph possessed worthy of praise and emulation. His examples of fatherhood were for the dads of all ages, and for all time to come, to ponder about. It has to shed some light on the role of a father with all its joys and responsibilities where the murky waters of a society that helped promote the collapse of a family were.