A popular talking point among conservative-minded people is the topic of the family and the importance thereof. We have all heard the expression that families are the building blocks of society, but do we really even know what that means? Too many of us simply pay lip service to the idea of strong families while our actions often contradict our words. If we really wish for society to improve, then we have to start at home by improving our families. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this feat is by understanding what exactly families are for and how they transform us into better people.
To understand the real beauty of the family, we have to first understand that the family is a perfect representation of the order which God desires. There are few better paths to become more Godly than being part of a family. Parents’ authority over their children comes directly from God, and it is a symbol of God’s authority over all of His children. Parents are essentially sharing in the authority of God, and thus have a great obligation to use such authority wisely.
Thankfully, the authority that parents are given does come with certain natural helps to advise them on how to properly use such a great gift. Parents naturally love their children above all others, and this means they wish to use their authority to the best of their ability. All parents have a natural inclination to want what is best for their children, and this is the first great help with which God blesses parents. We often take this for granted, but how good God must be to bless every parent with the natural desire to do what is best for their children! It takes an outrageously selfish parent to overcome such a natural inclination of placing child before self.
The second great natural help with which parents are blessed is that of a spouse. There is nothing more silly than advocating more single parents when nature itself makes it impossible to even conceive a child without two parents! Isn’t it obvious that nature wishes the child to have two parents, male and female? A single parent is a great travesty because there is no greater help for a parent than their spouse. The whole of a marriage is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, where there is no marriage and no second half, the single parent is at an absolutely tremendous disadvantage.
And what about the parents becoming better people through marriage? If the family is truly a representation of God’s plan for order, then parents in a family are acting as figures of God Himself. There are few things more humbling than that simple realization. Parents must be perfect as their Heavenly Father is perfect, and there is more at stake than only their own souls. While a healthy fear of parenting is just that, healthy, there is no need to overdo the fear. Again, God blesses parents with special graces which enable them to be more like Him, and also raise their children to do likewise.
When a parent realizes that they are acting as a figure of God, suddenly all of the required sacrifices become easier. The amount of trouble a child causes their parent can be compared to the amount of trouble that we have caused God. Every time a child offends their parent by their ingratitude and disrespect, a parent can imagine a trace of the pain that God must feel when we offend him with the same sins. Parents can also feel a trace of the love that God must have for His children when we realize how much we love our own. No good parent would hesitate to give their life for their child, and parental love is only a tiny fraction of the Heavenly love which God possesses for each of His Earthly children. How humbling are these reflections!
Perhaps the most astounding aspect of being the head of a family is that we are led into marriage by some of the greatest joys that we are possible of experiencing. With all of the good that comes from being part of a family, we would be extremely blessed even if it was a completely unpleasant experience. But instead God has attached to parenting what are assuredly the greatest joys possible on this Earth. How good God is to His children! How beautiful and wise He must be to make the marvelous family first so beneficial to our souls, and then so alluring and attractive to our hearts! Truly, the traditional family is God’s greatest work of art, and we must begin to appreciate such perfection in order to obtain its copious benefits.