What is a Family?
Family systems theory is based on the belief that the family is a natural social grouping. Every individual functions within some large ecological unit, and for most people it is the family. A family system is a complex patterns of various parts working together for its existence and survival of some greater whole. A family system is a group of complex behaviors and ways of functioning that family members believe necessary in order for the family to survive and preform its tasks. Put another way, the family can be directly described as a system of interdependent relationships engaged in change and adaption and geared to the growth and support of each member.
It would follow that any attempt for the church to reach out to families must address the family as unit. This is difficult in a society which the individual is celebrated. However, there is a growing awareness that if education is understood as a life long process then the family as a unit of society must be involved. On a very basic level, what happens to one family member has an impact on all the members of the family.
Focusing on the Family
Consider how important and how needed family Christian education is becoming.
Family Christian education needs to be an intentional program of learning experiences which are planned and guided to develop the full spiritual potential of individuals in their present and future roles as family members. The central concept of family Christian education is that of relationships through which personality and spirituality are developed. This would include a person or family's relationship to Jesus Christ.
Keeping a family intact is not easy. There are many social problems facing the family like drug addiction, alcoholism and increasing levels of spouse abuse, which negatively impact the family and its ability to adapt. Thus it would seem family Christian education is of increasing importance in the ministry of the church universal.
Elijah was a father figure for Elisha. Elisha realized he would soon be without the man he admired. More than anything, "Elisha wanted to be the older man's spiritual heir. He desired what his spiritual father had; he wanted to carry on the work Elijah had begun.
Maybe contemporary fathers should reflect on should reflect on 2 Kings 1:1-12. What kind of an inheritance should they leave their children? Wouldn't it be wonderful if our children wanted nothing more than a double portion of our spirit? What do you think?
Father, for the sake of your son, hear our prayers. We have fallen short in listening to one another and we have many broken homes in our community. We have bitter and discouraged children who have run away, often into the arms of people who mean them harm or wish to exploit them. We have parents who are afraid and do not know what to do. Father, hear our prayers.
Watch over the children who have run, who are not at home today. Calm the fears of their parents who care about them. Give the children the gift of courage to return home. To those who do return home, may they receive the spirit of forgiveness.
Last of all, Jesus, where there are home where parents truly do not care, provide their children with a safe shelter with someone who truly does.
Lord guide us in your church universal to help with the problem of runaway children. Amen.
Honoring Parents — The Fifth Commandment
The fifth commandment shifts the focus of the first 4 commandments away from God toward human relationships and responsibilities. Additional passages about parents can be found in Exodus 21:15, Exodus 21:17, and Leviticus 20:9.
This commandment points to the blessing of being in harmony with the divine order. In the family we learn about commitments to make and how to make them. We learn by observing our elders. Early Christians believed that whoever did not honor their family members had denied their faith and became whose than an unbeliever. (I Timothy 5:8)
How will your children treat you when you are old? They will likely do what you did to your parents.
Being a Responsible Father
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those
of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8
Fathers have a responsibility to take care of their children. It saddens me when I read about the number of fathers who do not financially support their families.
When you become an adult you realize your choices have short and long term consequences.
So many children live in poverty that would not have to be if their fathers would take responsibility for being a parent.
Children Are A Gift
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb
is his reward.
We have a Preschool at Paoli United Methodist church. It is fun to watch these young children as they are taught new things. Yet not all children are as fortunate as the children who attend our preschool. It is hard to believe, but there are children in the United States who do not have enough to eat.
A society can be judged by how it takes care of those who are unable to take care of themselves, like children and the elderly. When families are not able to provide enough food for a growing child who should step in and help out? It is a tough question to answer.
Whatever actions we have taken and might take in the future will be remembered by future generations.
What did Jesus say about children and how they should be treated?