The term solidarity is a fairly new term. If we look in Webster’s 1828 dictionary, we will not find the word there. To understand solidarity we need to understand what it really means to be solid. When something is solid it is not able to be penetrated. So a family that has solidarity is a group of individuals that are completely solid. Solidarity is what happens when there is a connection between all of the solid people in the group. This would make the group or family not able to be penetrated by any destructive, outside source.
What outside sources are penetrating our families today? What or who would attempt to destroy our family solidarity and why? Most every person I ever encounter whether in politics, in education, in business or in society as a whole seems to value the family. Surely none of those people or organizations are attempting to destroy the solidarity of our families. Yet businesses and governments as well as programs and agendas seem to be targeted at our families, and can often have negative effects.
Maybe the problem lies in the lens we are looking at the family through. Some look at the family through a governmental lens while others look at the family through the lens of production or business. What lens should the family be viewed through?
Through a business lens the family should be seen as a key producer. Through an education lens the family should be seen as the key most influential educators in the life of a child or person. Through the religious lens the family should be seen as the basic, fundamental structure that promotes morals, goodness, truth, and identity.
I suppose some educators could view the family as ignorant, and some governments could view the families as weak and in need of reform or programs. Of course businesses often view the family as the means to that businesses’ financial success. And philanthropic organizations view the family as a group in need of their ideas and programs.
Clearly all of these groups see the family through a different lens, and because of that they interact with the family or impact the family differently. Some of these groups inadvertently impact the family negatively. Look at the entertainment industry and technological businesses. Today’s families are plagued with too many diversions and distractions. Through the technological devices and movies, music, books, and social media families are more disconnected than ever before. Properly governing the many distractions is a difficult task for the family. Often times parents are in competition with video games or friends and children are in competition to a parents computer or cell phone. People in the education industry are frequently teaching ideas and topics or concepts that are contrary to a family’s religious beliefs or foundational principles. And the governments seem to be tightening their grasp on the individuals and on families with each new legislative session.
It is important that the family is well aware of the distractions and inadvertent attacks as well as blatant and advertent attacks on the vital institution of family.
What can we do to strengthen the family? How can we make our families more solid? Here are five ideas for how to increase the spiritual solidarity of the modern family.
- Talk openly with your children and grandchildren about the dangers of the distractions and attacks on the family.
- Create vision, or a picture, of what a solid family, your family, is meant to look like. Work toward that picture as a group. Use it as a lifelong focus. Practice the feeling that this vision inspires by having weekly family activities, or family nights.
- Regularly check up on your family’s progress toward drawing nearer to your family vision by having weekly family meetings or councils together. During these family meetings discuss how the family is doing at becoming more solid; more unified.
- Strengthen the husband and wife relationship by having regular, weekly dates together as a couple. Never underestimate the power this one unified relationship has to unite the entire family. Contrarily, this husband-wife relationship if not unified or solid has the ability of destroying the solidarity of the entire family. It is useful to discuss weekly and to have weekly dates as a unified couple.
- Deliberately and regularly evaluate the outside world’s influence upon the family. Discuss the impact the family’s involvement in media and education is having on the family relationships. Discuss the families extracurricular activities and if they are burdening the family or helping the family. It is okay for one person to sacrifice for the good of the whole family. In fact it is healthy. Families should practice deciding upon things to say no to. Some media should not be watched, some educational decisions should be altered, and some activities should be postponed or abandon. The unity of the family must be the first priority of the family. We cannot worry about disappointing other people around us. Creating a spiritually solid and unified family is significantly more important than pleasing our neighbors and friends.
It is true that in our current, modern society the family has been steadily losing its power of influence. Instead, the family has been influenced by every other structure in our communities and countries. But we must not lose hope. We must believe in the power of the family. Families will become more and more solid as more and more people turn to their families for stability, for morals and principles, for foundational understanding’s, and for peace and hope. The most important thing that we can do to create spiritually solid families and morally solid families is to believe in the power of influence that the family has historically always had in society and live up to that influential status. If we believe in the family, then we can restore the family deliberately back to its position of influence.
If you missed the Peck family live family night, you can see it at http://teachingselfgovernment.com. In the parenting self-government section.