Family and Government
The role of the "family" will always be debated and discussed because no matter how one tries to downplay the influence one’s family nothing can displace this natural group’s influence on the child. No other organization is able to provide the support and love that the young child needs as he or she matures and discovers how to cope with the difficulties presented by living.
But how do we take our family, with all its challenges, problems, and resources, and make it the best support it can be to this young, impressionable, individual God has entrusted to us? Different points of view exist on what the role of the family should be and how to assure that this “organization” does what it is suppose to do, help the innocent baby become a responsible, adjusted, contributing part of the family and society. What role should the community play and how involved should the government be in this “child rearing’ process. Here is my take on what the family and community need to do to be the support they are intended to be.
1. The Family exists as an independent group, responsible for its own members. Society or government should not interfere with the process of child rearing unless asked to do so or unless family members are causing harm to other members of the community.
2. The most important element that should exist in every family is respect for fellow family members. No matter what a family member has done, no matter what “mistakes” or deliberate decisions have been made, family members need to have respect and faith in each other.
3. This "respect" for individual family members needs to be part of our community and society also. We can not be legislate, purchase, or mandate this respect but it can be part of the social fiber of a community and its people. How advanced a community is can be judged by how well individuals are treated during times of crisis. Even though we have laws that protect children the real test of our concern for children can be determined by "how" we serve each other.
4. The relationship between members of the family and members of the community is the most essential element in this “training” process. When a learning situation or crisis is in process all involved must have faith in each other and the young child.
Let me propose some "not very original" ideas that may be of help to parents and those who support the family as we participate in this beautiful, stressful, and intimate process of raising a child.
1. Love and respect must be the foundation for all interactions with the child and the family. Judging or blaming does nothing to change circumstances for the child or promote growth and change. To quote the Savior, “As I have loved you, love one another.”
2. If you have discovered something that works for you in life, don't assume that it will work for your neighbor. Each individual must work out their own unique solutions to the problems life gives. Share ideas and encourage but do not feel the solutions inside your skin are the best solutions for all problems.
3. Intervene to protect the child who may be in danger. Non-action or blaming sidesteps the issue of what must be done to help the child and/or parent help them. There is nothing that should bring us more joy then seeing another person learn from a problem or crisis.
4. Teach correct principles and then have faith that the child will be able to govern themselves. If you do not have faith in those you teach, you keep them dependant on you.
5. And last, love yourself, love life and enjoy the process of guiding other spirits who are learning and discovering the same things others helped you discover many years ago.