The concept of family is being undermined and attacked like never before by the culture around us. At the same time, often dangerous ideals such as independence, individualism and self-reliance are heavily promoted and encouraged as a new way of living.
But this is not the way it was ever meant to be. Family was meant to be the center of our worlds. There’s nothing wrong with chasing our dreams or following our passions - quite the opposite in fact - but when those assignments become more important than our loved ones, we need a change of heart.
In the midst of a culture that is continually attacking the archetype of family, how do we stand our ground and fight for family? How do we champion our family, when there are so few examples of what healthy and vibrant family looks like in our world?
Here are four ways to stand up for family while everyone else is trying to destroy it
1. Put your money where your mouth is.
It’s time we stop saying that “Family is everything,” and start living it. If there isn’t action behind those words, they are empty and meaningless.
The easiest way to see if we are living those words out is to look at our bank accounts, and our calendars. What are we spending our money on? Is it on ourselves, our friends, or our family? What does our calendar look like? Do we have family time set aside, or are our weekends filled with “bro nights” and time spent away from home?
This is where we get to make a difference, and be different. Culture as we see it is terrible at doing family. Fathers are absent, and mothers are having to take their places. But we get the chance to step up and change all of that.
It’s time to start spending ourselves - our money, our time, and our hearts - on the things we claim to love the most. Let’s start putting our money where our mouths are.
2. Self-reliance is killing us
Independence. Convenience. Comfort. Self-reliance. These are the hot words of our time, gleaming ideals worthy of worship to many of us today. We strive to lean on no one, to never have to rely on someone else's strength.
And pursuing those things is not always a bad thing. There are seasons of life when we must seek out our own identity and find who we are, separate from anyone else. And sometimes that looks like doing it along for a season. But human beings were not designed to be alone forever. Eventually we must surround ourselves with family who we can lean on in the tough times, and who we can also be there for in their bad days.
But many of us have forgotten how to sacrifice. We've become so self-absorbed and self-centered that we forget that family, the ultimate sacrifice, is what we were born to foster. We forget that it is a beautiful thing to lay down our childish needs and immaturities for the sake of other human beings - in marriage, in family, in relationships.
This sacrifice is something that, quite sadly, most men and women are very afraid of. Because commitment is scary, kids are hard, and family is messy. But by missing out on family, we are missing out on the most beautiful parts of life: connection, intimacy, love, memories, and so much more.
3. Fight for your family
We must starve our childish impulses and needs to go at life alone. To run from family. To hide from our responsibilities. Instead, we need to start fighting for our family. To lay down our pride and learn to serve the people in our life whom we claim to love.
I'm speaking mostly to men here, but this applies to everyone. Because this is a noble fight. This is an important fight.
We must fight to keep our families. It will get ugly at times - but we mustn't let that keep us from doing what we were born to do. It will be hard, make no mistake. But if hard is the right thing, we must do the hard thing. Keep fighting friends.
4. Family isn't easy, but always worth it
Many of us have gotten this idea in our head that it’s supposed to be easy. “It” being life, or relationships, or business, or family. But it won’t always be easy. Family especially, is very messy. No family is perfect, and no family ever will be. And that’s just the way it is meant to be.
Because if it was easy, everyone would have an amazing family life. But that’s what makes this so beautiful. We get to work hard to create something rare, and so so valuable. We get to work hard to foster a beautiful family life. This will never be perfect, ever, but it will always be worth it.
And that’s what we’ve got to remember - it will always be worth it. Family is the most important thing we will spend our lives on. Let’s give it our best shot.
Practical Next Steps
Do you prioritize family? That's a difficult question, and I think almost all of us can improve in the area of family. By spending more time and attention on them. So this week, find just one small way that you can prioritize family in this next season. Is it having coffee with a sibling who you haven't connected with lately, giving Mom or Dad a call one evening, or surprising your sister with a special dinner?
Did you enjoy this article?
Join me on this journey to making every day matter. Text the word AWESOME to 444999, and I'll send you an email every Monday with practical and motivating content to help you focus on what truly matters.
Life is short. #MakeItMatter
Use the hashtag above on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to tag me @japhethmast so I can read your posts!