The functional family

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What happened to the "functional" family?  You know, the one with a Dad and a Mom and children centered around the home, doing the things families do, working together, playing together, laughing and sometimes crying together.

It seems to be in short supply today. More prevalent is the "dysfunctional" family, where there is only one parent with all the responsibility and pressures of trying to make a living and to provide the nurturing atmosphere and direction to bring up healthy children, who get the instruction, love, and, yes, discipline to grow up into well-adjusted, responsible adults.

It does happen, but more often than not, it seems, it doesn't turn out that way. Instead, young people lacking this parental involvement and direction are adrift, following every fad or the current pop icon while missing out on the opportunity that youth brings to prepare one's self to do great things and to accomplish life goals that bring success and satisfaction.

The family unit has been under attack for a couple of generations, and the disastrous results are all around us. Public schools are often war zones, where it is a struggle for teachers to maintain order, and where assaults on teachers and students are all too common. The student dropout rate and the declining academic test scores are vivid evidence of the failure of families to instill discipline and a desire to learn in their children. Illicit drug use, teen pregnancy, gang violence; it's an all-too-familiar refrain in every news media on a daily basis.

Then, unbelievably, the onslaught of "same sex" marriages, which are now being recognized by several states – even the nation's capital, Washington, DC – further erodes the whole idea of the wholesome, normal marriage relationships and family structure. No good can come from this practice and the society that condones such perversion cannot long stand.

Happily, there are exceptions and when you see a successful child, you can almost always trace him or her back to a stable, loving family situation. These results come from a commitment to devote the time, energy and loving involvement with the members of a family to achieve this worthwhile outcome.

The Bible has much to say about this subject. Anciently, Moses was inspired to write, "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Every day is a teaching moment for an astute, loving parent. Solomon wrote about it in the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs. "The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" (Proverbs 29:15). This might sound like old- fashioned, out-of-date instruction, but in actuality it is timeless wisdom.

The New Testament contains much instruction on the subject of family relationships, including child-rearing. For example, describing the functional family, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged" (Colossians 3:18-21).

These godly principles actually work, when applied consistently, and they bring the stability and happiness that mankind so desperately desires, but finds so elusive.

You can learn more about this tried and proven way of establishing a family that functions as God intended, with all the blessings that it can bring. Our free but valuable booklets entitled God's Plan for Happy Marriage and Successful Parenting: God's Way will be of great benefit to you in achieving your goal.

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