The vital necessity of family

A short while ago, I was grabbing lunch when I overheard another student animatedly talking to his friends about how he was related to William the Conqueror. Curiosity piqued, I looked the man up and discovered that William the Conqueror overcame his illegitimate birth, established his prowess on the battlefield and became king of England in 1066, according to the royal family’s website. I couldn’t help thinking that to be descended from such an accomplished warrior is something to be proud of.

But how many Americans today are leading lives worthy of epic legacies? Or even the legacies that come from quiet, humble lives? I would say the answer has, at least partly, to do with how we value family and family history today.

Judging from statistics and personal observations, family is not at the center of society like it used to be. Marriage is on the decline in America, with the percentage of adults who are married falling from 69% in 1970 to only 50% in 2021 according to a Pew Research survey. Similarly, the percentage of adults who have never been married has risen from 17% to 31% over the same period.

The same survey states that 67% of American adults were married with kids in 1970, whereas now that demographic represents only 37% of adults. The traditional family structure of a husband, a wife and their kids is being supplanted by other models, including remarriage, single parenthood and cohabitation.

This all goes to show that less and less people value being married and raising kids in a unified and committed household. The very perception of family — and consequently, the value of it — is changing.

After all, look at what can be considered “family” today. Popular YouTuber Shane Dawson and his “husband” just bought twin boys through surrogacy. Those children will never know the love of a mother — and quite frankly, a father. They’re completely isolated from half their lineage and any semblance of a real family.

Two gay men and two stolen sons do not make a family. How are those children supposed to grow up proud of where they came from? How are they supposed to lead lives at the head of their own families when they have no idea what that’s supposed to look like?

When someone celebrates the lineage they were born into and sees it as something to raise up, they know what they stand for and where they stand. This leads to ambitious men and passionate women.

When someone feels they have no bloodline to celebrate or to raise up, they may be confused about where their life is headed and what to stand for, especially when God is not in the picture. As a result, they may not live their life for anything or anyone beyond themselves.

The solution to this problem is not as simple as buying a DNA test. The solution is to connect with your family. Talk to the grandparents you haven’t seen in years. Talk to the parents who raised you. Listen to their stories and learn their traditions.

The bond of a family is special. There’s a reason why God placed his Son into a family, born of a mother and raised in the home of a father. The family is supposed to be the first place where a child encounters God.

After all, God adopts us into his own family so we may share in his inheritance.

That being said, no one’s family is perfect. Some may even consider their family broken. If that’s the case, know that you may still encounter the love of a family in the Holy Family. And know that your family’s past does not have to define you.

Ultimately, we must place our sights on God and the next life. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about our time in this world. What we leave behind may guide someone forward to the kingdom.

In the end, not everyone will leave behind a legacy that’s the likes of a military war general and king like William the Conqueror. But when we recenter our lives around God and family, our legacy will be infinitely sweeter.

Ava Bear is the editor-in-chief for the Liberty Champion

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