One day my grandmother will pass away, and that day will mark a distinctly dark time for my family. Grandparents are inclined to be the meeting place where older and younger generations gather for food and good times, especially through the holidays. My grandmother is not any exception. Cooking on more Sundays than I can count. Hosting for almost every holiday. I’m undecided what is going to occur once she dies.
Being the family glue requires effort and time, an amount most of us don’t showcase. We get so used to seeing the identical faces at various functions. We take the relationships, nevertheless meaningful or insignificant, with no consideration. See you next time, we are saying, parting ways.
But what happens once we don’t?
What happens when so-and-so gets right into a automotive crash or so-and-so goes to prison? Suddenly, life turns the other way up in ways we never could have predicted.
Beyond taking the existence of our relatives with no consideration, a lot of us today find our families dissolving, often before we’re sufficiently old to understand. Take one go searching, perhaps a glance within the mirror, and also you’re likely to search out someone who comes from divorce, a blended family, a single-parent household, someone raised by a grandparent as a substitute of a mom or a dad. We see throughout us people sprung from less-than-ideal families.
And then they, we, produce our own less-than-ideal families. The cycle continues so on and so forth.
Even inside families, there’s a disconnect between the generations. The older adults treat the younger ones as if they’re still children, neglecting to listen or give the identical respect that they expect. Younger adults don’t take care of the elderly as was once custom within the culture. And the kids, our kids, are unable to socialize well with anyone, even other kids. They’re stuck on their devices, preferring the corporate of a phone to an individual.
There are so many barriers to producing and maintaining a family, especially in the way in which God desires.
Do any of us ever stop to wonder, how should we treat our relatives? Does anybody wonder what the perfect family looks like?
I don’t pretend to have all of the answers and even present myself as someone who has a powerful relationship with family. What I can say with certainty is that Scripture admonishes us about how we should treat each other, how we should treat our families. These words of wisdom might be edifying if we allow them. Let’s take a look at these six guiding verses about family relationships:
How to Treat Spouses
“Wives, undergo your husbands as to the Lord, since the husband is the top of the wife as Christ is the top of the church. He is the Savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:22-23)
Scripture outlines in such detail how we must always treat each other that little is left to the imagination. We may not all the time understand the why behind God’s tenets, but He gives us clear direction. In summary, as believers, we undergo God in faith. That submission determines how we treat other people. Likewise, once we marry, we undergo our spouse and treat them in a godly fashion.
Where our marriages struggle today is the shortage of submission to at least one one other. Instead of a covenantal union, we go for something more akin to a business partnership. People get married with the thought of forging a 50/50 relationship in order that they aren’t taken advantage of by the opposite person. Yet, the scorekeeping makes us more likely to search out ‘evidence’ of just that. The final result, as a lot of us have experienced, is divorce – the death of a wedding.
We can escape this trend by changing how we treat marriage and the dating process that precedes it. With a give attention to serving our spouse, we are going to cause the wedding and, because of this, our kids to flourish.
How to Treat Children
“Start a youth out on his way; even when he grows old he won’t depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Society ends without the creation of more children, as do family lines. We as individuals profit from children too. They humble us, make us laugh, and even cry. They have an uncanny ability to point us back to God as our creator and provider. As great as they’re, societal trends are encouraging adults to not turn out to be parents. Aside from the atrocity of abortion, young individuals are being encouraged to not have children in any respect. Lifestyles like SINK (single income, no kids) are glamorized on social media.
There’s little doubt that having children comes with challenges, the expected and unexpected variety, but once we find ourselves single, and everybody else is tucked away with their spouses and youngsters, we could find ourselves in bad shape, especially as we get older.
For those of us who’ve children, we must do not forget that raising them in a God-fearing way doesn’t equal incessant coddling, nor does it mean acting as a micromanager for his or her every decision. We’re called to show wisdom, and cling to the identical wisdom we give. There’s no point in telling them to socialize and never be on their devices if we ourselves don’t know tips on how to communicate. How else can we be role models? Living by the ideology of “do what I say, not as I do” is a transparent sign of hypocrisy and unfit of emulation.
How to Treat Parents
Culturally, our treatment of the elderly has taken a nosedive, probably because how we treat our parents has significantly modified. The increase in divorce and broken families has not led to children having more respect for his or her elders, but less.
Part of the answer is for our elders to set a greater example, but ultimately we will’t control them. We can only control ourselves and use the insight God has given us on tips on how to behave. What He says is to honor our parents. There are not any explicit caveats to the commandment. Honoring our parents is a display of gratitude each to them and to God. The final result strengthens our family bonds and offers our kids insight into tips on how to treat us.
Admittedly, following this commandment might be difficult. Our parents aren’t perfect, and sometimes, possibly often, their idiosyncrasies annoy us to no end. Sometimes they hurt us. But as believers, can we envision God wanting us to live in such a way where we’ve no contact with family simply because they trouble us? Or can we as a substitute set boundaries that protect us and still allow us to have an honoring relationship?
How to Treat the Elderly
“Listen to your father who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22)
Wisdom comes with experience, and the elderly often have experience. Maybe grandpa needs help organising a Facebook account, but he knows the importance of marriage and labor. Young people, myself included, take with no consideration the wisdom held by older generations. The temptation is to look down on them for being physically inept or socially unaware. Phrases like “Okay Boomer,” give us laugh, but what exactly are we doing to point out appreciation to those that got here before us? Our answer to that query should inform how we will expect the younger generations to treat us.
How to Treat the Youth
As a society, young people often get a nasty rep for not listening. They see themselves as having all of the answers, but ask not one of the questions. This is the critique by teachers of their students, and oldsters of their children, whether as kids or adults. There’s truth to this. Ignorance is bliss, and younger folks usually tend to be ignorant, depending on the topic. However, what society and families don’t grapple with as much is the shortage of listening older folks offer to younger people.
Being older doesn’t robotically make you wiser. Everyone grows old, naturally. There’s no effort we put in. Our bodies simply age. Wisdom comes from experience, first-hand and second-hand. Parents and other older adults do themselves and their relationships a disservice once they resolve to not listen, figuring that there’s “nothing you may tell me” or “I’m X years older than you.”
This doesn’t mean all the things a youngster says is valid – we all know that shouldn’t be the case. But every word a youngster says shouldn’t be readily dismissed simply because a youngster said them. And every word spoken by the elderly shouldn’t be true just because they spoke it.
Nobody’s perfect, and subsequently no family is ideal. The ideal family simply doesn’t exist. Yet, despite the undeniable fact that we are going to never be as immaculate as Christ, we’re still called to emulate Him. That same dedication to growth and positive change ought to be what we give to our families. Broken marriages and broken homes don’t should be the norm. As a society, we make that determination.
As a society, we set the foundations for the way we engage each other. We can decide to look after and cling to the wisdom of older generations. At the identical time, we will respect and acknowledge the worthiness of younger adults. We might be positive examples of communication for our kids, showing, not only telling them, that in-person human connection trumps anything you may garner from a tool.
We can do that each time we get together, at every function, with all of our relatives. Maybe that’s the perfect family.
Sometimes I still imagine my Nana will live eternally, maintaining the identical level of gray on her head, wrinkles on her skin, and tolerable health issues in her body. I imagine her being around even after I’m gone, still serving those delicious home-cooked meals to relatives and other people from church.
The truth is, she is going to leave. She will die. But until that day comes, I’ll proceed attempting to love her as I think Jesus would have me, not taking her existence with no consideration but cherishing her. May all of us learn to do this with all of our relatives, redeeming the time afforded to us. Day by day-to-day.
Originally published Thursday, 21 September 2023.