Thursday, July 29, 2010
The Centaur Scrolls: The Importance of the Family
You may remember advertisements with celebrities including Malcolm Jamal Warner and Phylicia Rashad which advertised “sharing more than a meal, at the family table.” This campaign, which began from a survey sponsored by TV Land and Nick at Nite, emphasized the importance of families spending time together to eat a meal, build memories, and draw closer together as a family.
Is this an antiquated idea? Does it really matter if families spend time together? Is a strong family unit a desirable for its members and society as a whole? I want to use this article to speak to parents, children, siblings, and spouses about the importance of quality time together as families from a national and personal perspective. Instead of exposing the negative effects of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) here—the opportunities of which to do this on this subject are legion—I want to restrict my discussion to simply why a strong family unit which cares about family time is important to us as Americans and individuals within a family. Most of what I say is already substantiated on this blog, so there will be few links here. Browse the Insurgency if you’re looking for more information.
First, there are many personal benefits to spending time together. It has often been said that “the family that eats/plays/prays together, stays together.” This statement is perhaps more true than any of us will ever know. Family is a place where people want to belong: if we do not spend time together, we have no sense of belonging. Our movies and society tend to idolize the wanderer, the one without a home. But let’s face it: we hate that life. We want a place that we can call ours, and a group of people that we can belong to and, in some sense, own as our own.
Beyond the personal benefit and need for family, a strong family unit also builds a strong sense of security for children. Most cases of adult violence, substance abuse, and criminal acts of various kinds are related to having an unstable, insecure childhood. Broken families result in broken lives farther down the line. By keeping families strong today, we build the American society of tomorrow.
Time together with Mom and Dad also keeps kids out of trouble. One of the major planks of a number of campaigns against underage drinking, underage smoking, illicit sexual activity, substance abuse, and gang and cult activity is to know where your child is, who they hang out with, and what they are doing. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to spend time together. You know precisely where they are, what they are doing, and who is with them. Spending time with your child may not seem that important at the time, but statistics indicate that the impact of family time is vast in the life of both the young child and the teen.
Family time can also give us a sense of direction and mission. For those of us who work a consistent job with a “same-old, same-old” routine, we need a sense of purpose and direction in our lives. Prioritizing our families, and particularly our time together as a family, is one way of doing that.
Finally, strong family units provide us with a strong foundation for our nation. Across the globe, we see the fall of parental involvement in their children’s lives followed by the fall of society. As societies remove parents from children, they also see a rise in crime, a rise in teen violence, a rise in sexual activity among minors, and increased substance abuse. Fighting for the family is also a way of fighting for society.
If you really want to turn America around, I would highly recommend that you start by evaluating your family’s position. We start with our own problems, and then move on to solve the foreign problems around us. I will highly encourage you to get involved with www.parentalrights.org and see how you can join the fight for families today. But I will also encourage you to spend time today with your spouse, children, parents, siblings, or whoever composes your family unit. These relationships are too precious to lose: will you defend them today?
In the action,
(All photos courtesy of: Woman’s Day Online, “12 Ways to Bring Your Family Closer,” accessed: July 1, 2010)