Tenet 12. We greatly value the unique and contributing role of families.
The family unit has the potential to protect, shape, and lift humanity more than any other institution. Individuals working in families can accomplish more good in the world than individuals alone. As families learn, work, and serve harmoniously within the home, family members each develop a positive self-identity grounded in unconditional love. As each member of the family feels cherished and irreplaceable, relationships are strengthened, and the harmony felt will ripple out within society in immeasurable ways.
We are each on this earth due to the incredible organic pattern of human reproduction. Because of the unique and equally valuable contributions of both males and females, men and women are able to continue humanity forward through generations. This pattern links us to our familial roots and branches. It grounds our individual human experiences to a broader collection of shared human experiences. Our shared humanity and deep feelings of tenderness, respect and love fostered within our families, is what keeps us as a broader human family connected to each other in powerful and meaningful ways.
Despite what our family situation has been in the past, or what it is currently, the family structure matters to society as we move into the future. There is the notion that the family is to society as the cell is to anatomy, both are the foundational components which allow for the health and development of a greater body. Without the protection the family institution provides, our society is prone to be made up of individuals only, which puts us at risk for serious threats and personal loneliness. Therefore, it is imperative that we acknowledge and promote the importance of the family unit as the basic unit of society, and that we promote the connection and joy that can only be found in family life.
We use the term family capital to describe the special collective power within a harmonious family. Family capital is the concept that the family unit is greater than the sum of its parts. When all the members of a family work together, the resulting power for good is greater than the sum of each individual alone. The same way healthy cells multiply and regenerate to heal the body if it is sick or weak, healthy families multiply the good through positive and cooperative values that replenish communities. As each member of a family is valued and loved for their unique characteristics, each person is given room to become whole, and a powerful asset to the entire body. This, in turn, builds internal resilience and fortitude which acts as a protective measure for families and communities to overcome tremendous hardships together, to achieve the impossible together, to innovate, to problem-solve, to create an endless supply of good in the world, together!
We are not alone in this world, rather, we are like links in a vast intergenerational chain of family members and relatives that span across time. We embrace this fact and seek to preserve and renew our relationships with family members past, present, and future. We understand that fostering these relationships, through stories, traditions, foods, and healthy family bonds, will not only strengthen us today, but will strengthen future generations and heal parts of the past as well. As we move forward, we carry the banner of our foremothers and forefathers and acknowledge their great role in our personal journeys today.
The family has the potential to be a nurturing place of teaching, safety and joy, but unfortunately, it can also be a place of trauma, neglect, and abuse. Also, in cases where we may experience loss, or disconnection from our family ties because of circumstance, we must remember that healing is possible when we reach out to an infinite source and higher power. There, we will find strength and courage to mend our broken hearts, and discover the empowerment and liberation that comes from forgiveness. No family is perfect, and that’s ok, but we do have power to make daily personal choices that will strengthen and improve our situations. In whatever ways we are lead by our internal compass, we can rest assured that as we follow, we will see many significant positive changes in our lives.
As a Big Ocean cottage, consider highlighting and promoting the goodness of families by sharing family experiences on social media and using the hashtag #FamilyCapital. We encourage you to share your service to one another and your community, wholesome activities, and the uplifting experiences of your family.
This is more than a nicety but is a proven assistance to the health and well-being of our children. A study by Dr. Duke at Emory University showed that children who knew the stories of their ancestors were much more emotionally resilient than those who did not. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html
- What are ways the family structure has blessed your life? What are ways it has been a challenge to you?
- What have been some of the criticism made against the family? Why?
- How can you share your feelings about the value of the family, while still being sensitive to those with differing views?
- How have your ancestors shaped who you are today?
- What are some hardships your family has faced?
- What are some of the hardships families in your community face today?
- What are some ways individuals and families can find healing?
- How can you help strengthen your own family and the families around you?
- What are some characteristics of resilient families? Do you have any stories in your family where you have demonstrated resilience during a difficult period in your life?
- What are some positive ways your cottage can promote the value of family together?
- What have you seen or experienced that has shaped your ideas about the family?