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 shorter supply today. Increasingly prevalent is the “dysfunctional” family. Even the most heroic single parents, managing one or two jobs as well as the needed child-rearing, may often feel that the task is almost more than they can handle. It is no small thing to take on the responsibility and pressure of trying to make a living and providing 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.
Far too often, it does not turn out so well. Young people without consistent and loving parental care find themselves adrift, following every fad or current pop icon while missing out on the opportunity that youth brings to prepare to do great things and 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 and gang violence form an all-too-familiar refrain in the news every day.
Now, the onslaught of “same sex” marriages further erodes the whole idea of wholesome Mom-and-Dad relationships and healthy family structure. It may seem that the odds are stacked against children in far too many cases, nowadays.
Happily, many children still turn out fine. Some overcome immense obstacles to become productive and happy adults. But most often, when we see successful children, we can trace them back to a stable, loving family environment with loving parents who chose to devote the time, energy and loving family involvement 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.