This is week two in a three-week series on things I am thankful for. Seems appropriate for November, doesn’t it?
The three subjects are Work, Family and Grace. Three things definitely worthy of our thankfulness, three things we definitely need, and three things connected.
When thinking about being thankful for family, I am keenly aware that not every individual was raised in a loving, stable family. Indeed, when we study the divorce rate, even among faith based communities, we recognize the family is relatively fragile in today’s culture. Complicating matters, for a wide range of preferences, a large percentage of today’s young adults, and even older adults, simply choose to cohabitate rather than “tie the knot.” Exacerbating matters further, we have cultivated federally funded incentive programs which financially reward fatherlessness, singleness, and the demise of the family. That last sentence honestly deserves its own white-paper.
Most could enthusiastically get behind the theme of being thankful for families, provided that we don’t look too deeply at the realities listed above. For when we do, one could easily become discouraged about the realities of the American family, and the toll it is taking on our culture at large, not to mention our national finances.
If we are honest, we will acknowledge that even in the strongest families, the inevitable challenges of life: job loss, finances, illness, differing priorities, and selfishness, all place stress on the family that will generally do one of two things: place deeper cracks in the foundation of that family or force the individuals within that family to come together to work toward a solution that benefits everyone.
Building healthy families takes work and at times it can be frustrating, even under the best of circumstances. The great news is that regardless of your individual families’ past, with help from God, you can chart a stable future for those that come after you. If you have a disappointing past, your family’s future doesn’t need to look like your family history.
Family is the lowest level of civil governance. As a nation, we have spent the last 18 months critiquing the families running for the highest position in the land, the Commander in Chief. This holiday season, let us turn our focus toward home, list our “done wells” and our “next times” and move forward into the future with thankfulness for the opportunity to impact the next generation closest to home!
I thank God, despite my own failures, that He gives me the opportunity on a daily basis to take another swing at bat, as it relates to leading my family. Wherever you are in this “inter-generational baton race,” as we approach Thanksgiving weekend – I pray you will be able to honestly assess where you are, be thankful for what you currently have as it relates to family, and press on toward making the next generation better than the last!