The Family is the Foundation
America is made up of individual people organized together as families. With this in mind it is not a stretch to say that in order to have a stronger country, America needs to strengthen it’s families. This is a difficult task given the current economy and divorce rate of 50%. This means that a family only has a 50/50 chance of succeeding in the United States today. This alone has had a dramatic effect on the children of the divorced families. It is no wonder that gang activity has sky rocketed in the last 20 years. Children need to feel safe and wanted. If a family is unable to offer this, a child will turn to an alternative source. The gangs of today as heinous as they are, can provide a pseudo sense of security to a child that is left to raise themselves on the streets. Gangs pride themselves on “having each others backs”. When a parent is unable to provide a secure enough environment the child may eventually become involved in gang activities.
Strengthening the Family
In order to strengthen the family it is necessary to begin at the top with the parents. Until parents commit to making their marriages work, rather than giving up on them, the traditional family is in danger of becoming extinct. This may sound a little dramatic, but in reality when parents decide to divorce, the children are the ones that suffer the most. Children from divorced families can feel abandoned, unwanted, and even deserted in some cases. The best way to heal the family is to see that parents are committed to their relationship. In a society where immediate gratification is prevalent this can be a difficult task. Prior to marriage both parties need to realize the seriousness of the decision they are making. Without a sincere commitment to stay together “until death do they part” marriages will continue to fail. Parents need to realize that not every day in marriage is going to be blissful and trouble free. Trials will come, testing even the most committed marriages. It will require looking beyond ones self to the bigger picture and most importantly to the children. Successful parents must truly develop a sense of selflessness to succeed. This is difficult when children and teens are not taught to think of, and be considerate to others. These values can only be taught through example in the home.
Teaching Children Family Values
When children are raised by single parents or by parents that are disengaged in teaching their children, problems can occur. The public school system is not founded on religion, or on any type of value system. This prevents them from teaching children values, honesty, and integrity. These are most effectively taught in the home. Children will do what they see their parents do long before they will do what they are told to do. Parents need to provide an example of ethical living for their children to follow. Parents who try to live one way and teach their children something else are wasting their time. If children are not taught by their parents who will they be taught by? It would be a good idea for a family to develop a list of principles to live by. Some families have religious affiliations that define their common values. Other families have written mission statements defining what their family belief systems are all about.