FOR us to be able to address the societal ills confronting our society we need to fix the family structures. There is no doubt that the family is the first and basic social unit of every society. God, in His wisdom, instituted the family to supply the needs of the individuals in the family. This fact is the basis for the well known African proverbs: “I am, because we are” and “it takes a village to raise a child”. It emphasizes that we are all connected and that one can only grow and progress through the growth and progression of others. The truth is that none of us comes into the world fully formed. We need other human beings in order to be human. Without others, we would not learn how to reason, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings. As a society, looking after one another plays a major role in the success of humanity. This makes this year’s 41st National Independence Celebration theme very significant. “Now is the time, let do it together”. We need each other.
In recent times, the challenges facing families have become more complex.The family in today’s society faces many challenges such as: lack of discipline, poverty, child abuse, father-figure absenteeism, materialism, drug addiction, same sex attraction, crime, greediness, violence, aggression, negative social media influence, balancing occupation and family. One of the greatest challenges is that of divorce which oftentimes breaks the foundation of the family’s structure.
The above challenges and many others are symptoms of the spiritual and moral crisis confronting our society today. The truth of the matter is that if the family is “sick and shaky” the foundation would be weakened and obviously the society falls into a “coma”. The so-called modernization and secularization of society have eroded the strong family values of the olden days. It seems to me that the advent of modernization and secularization has brought about the spiritual and moral crises in our society.
Today, it appears that the family values that we used to cherish which define who we are as people are no more seen in our society. Family values like caring, empathy, respect for the elderly, love, self-discipline, honesty, trustworthiness, modesty, responsibility, faithfulness, fairness, loyalty are disappearing from our society and, in so doing, are being replaced by anger, abuse and even murder at the hand of a family member. Spouses are not attentive to each other; parents neglect children; and children disregard elders. Greediness, hatred, wickedness, envy, corruption, fraud, gossip, immodesty, lack of respect for authority, lack of respect for human life and dignity, indiscipline in our communities, parental irresponsibility, etc., all stem from lack of family values in our so-called “fashionable society”.
Many parents, because they are unable to balance their work and that of taking care of their children, have relegated their family responsibility to persons who are often ill-equipped to cope with such responsibility and this has caused some of the children in the family to become vulnerable. As a result, many of these children and young people learn something which is “foreign and alien” to their family’s values. It is time to return to good “old-fashioned” family values. Our future is rooted in the rich soil of our past. True wisdom for living is found in our God-fearing elders, statesmen and women; in those who have already lived wisely.
To resolve all these societal challenges, I suggest that parents must assume their parental responsibilities to correct the wrongs of the past mistakes. Parents must set aside time for quality family interactions and discussions. The question is, when was the last time your family sat around a table or in the living room discussing important issues each family member has faced for the day? If we want a healthier family, we must schedule specific times each week or month when the entire family can be involved in open discussions. Sit together and interact with each other, to share ideas.
Also, there must be more selfless commitment towards the family and less self-centeredness within families. There is the need for sacrifice and service from family members. The questions to be asked are: what family legacy are you creating? What words would a stranger use to describe your family if you were meeting for the first time? More importantly, what words would your children use to describe your family? Remember, with God, things cannot go wrong. We are called to leave the worldly life for a godly one. Families that are faithful to God’s Word will prosper even if they meet obstacles along the way. Families must journey with God! In other words, the family must embrace the fact that God is the ONE in control and therefore raise children in a godly home.