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FAMILY VALUES

BY
HON. (MRS.) TOMI SOBOYEJO-OGUN STATE COMMISSIONER
FOR WOMEN AFFAIRS & SOCIAL WELFARE
 
 Published May 16th, 2010

The definition of the word ‘family’ is necessary to understand what we know and celebrate as family values. Family in the traditional setting and in the Holy Scriptures was based and is still the father, mother and the children. Both the traditional religion and the Holy Scriptures also recognize siblings and other close relatives in the extended family. Family ties were so pronounced in the Bible that God warned Israelites not to pollute themselves with unlawful sexual relationship with family members (Leviticus 18:6-20).

Family is celebrated by the society that days were set apart to commemorate uniqueness of family members such as; Mother’s day, Father’s day and the Children’s day. Today, we have diversity of family structure at the societal level in general, the new family structures vary differently from the traditional married families to single parent families, to families built around partnerships with or without marriage which include members who may be step parents, grandparents, gay or lesbian parents or partners.

EVOLVING PARENTAL ROLES:

In the past, the father was undisputable the head of the family and the mother a homemaker. Women had rigid traditional role in the home and that is to keep the home, undertake domestic chores, take care of the husband by cooking delicious meals and train the children. The change in this traditional role has a great impact on the lives of men and children today. Society’s recognition of the diversity of family types must be seen in the context of the evolving and changing roles engaged in by women and men and in society’s understanding of same sex relationships. Feminist movements have dramatically changed the way women plan their lives in terms of how they will invest their time whether it be invested in career, family, or other activities. Nowadays there is a general call for men to share in the domestic responsibilities to allow women that are desirous to achieve their careers, family goals, and avoid stress overload.

DEBASEMENT OF FAMILY VALUES:

Most homes are run on three shifts with father on the night shift, mother on the day shift, and the children shift for themselves. This is nothing but chasing after the wind.

It is a well-known fact that family values have been debased. Parents no longer play their traditional roles and children are disobedient and act flagrantly against social norms and duties. The attributes of old family values which include honesty, respect, purity, caring, and commitment have all been thrown into the garbage. In the present, families have been shattered by divorce and truth has been thrown out of homes. Parents lack integrity and children are more criminally prone than being obedient. There is no respect for traditional family roles any more. Each family member is more interested in what is in there for him or her. Children are at home alone while parents are at work, sex outside of marriage is accepted, truth is relative, and the focus is more on self-interest than family interest. There is no longer respect for lives especially as television, computer and the Internet expose the future generation to commonplace crimes and more crimes. Children are exposed to video and computer games that glorify killing, rituals and nudity. Is it any wonder there is no respect for life anymore? Family values have been debased. Parents no longer live in the fear of God. Children no longer respect their parents. Trust has been discarded for suspicion and truth relegated for falsehood. All are in shambles. Shamelessness has taken over the front row and disarray is the order of the day. Corruption is the password as marital beds are daily defiled. Pre-marital sex is celebrated, x-rated and modeled as the norm. Lust is mixed with love. The center can no longer hold. Those who hold on to the truth are castigated and regarded as outcasts. Really, this world is upside down

WHO IS TO BLAME?

Ask any sinner who is to blame? The answer is not far fetched. It is of course Satan, the Devil. Of course, ultimately Satan is to blame. Satan will do all in his powerless power to bring down mankind. It is Satan’s aim to bring everything possible to bear on the inhabitants of earth that will cause them to turn far away from God. Besides Satan enjoys hurting, maiming, and killing humanity in the most degrading way, thereby bringing sorrow to the tender heart of the great God of love and compassion. Let us face facts and put blame where it should be. Our families themselves must share responsibility for the woeful state of our society today. Fathers and mothers in their homes have allowed the society around them to dictate our values and standards. Parents have left undone the things required of them. Children are depending on the parents to guide them in the right direction but most parents have failed in this onerous duty.

The fact of the matter is that homes have become houses and they are run on shifts. Most homes are run on three shifts with father on the night shift, mother on the day shift, and the children shift for themselves. The wind of life propelled by Satan sends families into all directions, negatively abandoning the right direction that leads to God. God’s way is the only option, the truth and life (John 14:6). Parents have permitted our violence-addicted culture to re-program their children through films/movies, music, cartoons, and video games they pay for their enjoyment.

HOW CAN WE EFFECT A CHANGE?

A change is the only thing that is constant in life. Each of us must be determined to make a difference in our own lives, in our homes, and then a positive change will come in our society. Some ingredients for families are:

Families are to spend time together:

Time and love is what children want most today from their mothers and fathers. Doing routine tasks together are highly appreciated by children; such as reading the Holy Scriptures together, playing together, reading them stories, going on picnics, doing dishes together, working in the garden, cutting firewood, going camping or just being there for them. A family must stay close as a knit family, spending time together.

Families are to set definite limits:

Children want order in the home. It may mean some tough love and discipline at times. Discipline is a risky form of love because the child often rejects the one administering it. However, when discipline is given fairly and in love, children do not complain. Someone once said, that discipline is one of the most durable gifts we can give our children.

King Solomon, using the wisdom God blessed him wrote:

“He who spares
his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him
disciplines him promptly.”

(Proverbs 13:24).

Definite limits are not for children alone. Parents must also set limits for themselves. Husbands must know their limits and lovingly keep to them, just as wives must know their limits and respectfully keep them.

Parents to be the right model:

Someone once said, ‘Do as I say and not what I do”. This is not Biblical. Parents must be role models to their children. Parents must live what they believe and say. Be genuine; children have a way of spotting hypocrisy immediately, and they don’t like it. It has often been said, that, the best thing fathers can do for their children is to truly love their mothers. The best thing mothers can do for their children is to be submissive to their husbands. Showing affection and love openly to your spouse is a sure way of getting your children to understand love and appreciate it.

Show your kids how much you value them:

Parents must consistently demonstrate love and respect. This involves being a good listener, speaking in respectful tones, expressing appreciation for something well done, showing affection (appropriate touching on regular basis). Resist the temptation to “preach” to your children. Think of what it takes to make you feel valued and do the same to your children.

Let your children choose when appropriate:

Do not be overzealous and over domineering but make sure your children understand that each choice has consequences, good or bad. They must learn to accept the responsibility for their choices. It is not always the loving thing to do when we shield them from suffering brought on by their own choices.

Our world is fast becoming materialistic in values and predatory.

Therefore there must be a paradigm shift by the youths to the old traditional values. In the past these traditional values guided society with a godly hand and human face. I am sounding the gong for a return to values that treat the human person as an image of God. This should be our mantra in a society where the spirit of commercialism has become the teacher of faith, a society where condoms and other contraceptives have taken over the enviable values of abstinence and mutual fidelity. Parents are to be examples in integrity, honesty, and exemplary character to their children. I know better those things that lead to conflict in homes. Couples create marital conflict by:

i. Failure to make each other happy and
ii. Determination to deliberately hurt each other.

Marital conflict has nothing to do with strong religious and moral commitments, but lies in the power of basic emotional needs. You can only keep true to your marital vows by being realistic about meeting each other’s important emotional needs and opening a ‘love bank’.

Pleasurable interactions cause deposits and painful interactions cause withdrawals.
All marriages can be saved from divorce. Extra marital affairs are bad, yet marriages torpedoed by affairs need not sink. They can be towed into dry dock repaired and refitted. They can also be parked in hanger while repairs are carried out to make them better to fly. Commitment and trust are vital bonding links in marriage but are easily thrown overboard when spouse’s basic emotional needs are unmet. Spouse becomes vulnerable to the temptation of an affair. Couples that commit themselves to each other’s needs lay foundation for lifelong happiness in a marriage that will be more satisfying than they ever deemed possible. Homes must be conducive for their living mates. Couples must express agape love to each other and devotion to their off springs. There must never be a diary of wrongs. Wipe off the slate of wrongdoings daily before you sleep.

Chronic behavioral problems are usually an indication of a failure in parenting —generally centering on the father's failure to lead his family in a Godly manner

The essential things Parents are to do to enshrine core family values include prayer:

Pray! Pray! Pray!

Let your children know you as a prayer warrior. Always pray for your spouse, children and for yourself. There is power of life and death in the tongue; so parents must control the words they utter or say to their children. You need God’s help to make sure you do and say the right thing at the right time. And your children need God’s protection from the temptations that Satan puts across them constantly. Prayer is the master key, hand it over to your children. Let them know the efficacy of prayer and teach them to pray at all times in all circumstances with thanksgiving to God. The best gift to our children is the gift of our prayers. It is a gift of tremendous power that has definite eternal consequences, but costs nothing but our time. God in His infinite mercy will grant to our society the true family values based on His word. Amen! God created the family. He personally played and talked to the first family in the Garden of Eden before the fall. God has redeemed us and reconcile us back to Himself. This is a great opportunity for the family. We must never let it pass us. I will like to share with you a quote; In Stephanie Coontz’s book, “The Way We Never Were”, she wrote:

“Pessimists argue that the family is collapsing; optimists counter that it is merely diversifying. Too often, both camps begin with an historical, static notion of what “the” family was like before the contemporary period. Thus we have one set of best sellers urging us to reaffirm traditional family values in an era of “family collapse” and another promising to set us free from traditional family traps if we can only turn off “old tapes” and break out of old ruts. The actual complexity of our history—even of our own personal experience—gets buried under the weight of an idealized image. Families have always been in flux and often in crisis; they have never lived up to nostalgic notions about “the way things used to be.”

My clarion call is for families to go back to core values; what it used to be at the beginning; enjoying cozy and pure love relationship with God our creator and having godly homes.
 



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