This week’s reflection is family. When we say that word, our mind conjures up images usually of how we grew up, or the family we were born into. I was privileged to grow up in a loving home where we supported one another’s dreams, played together after school, enjoyed traveling together, and ate family meals together every day. Both of my parents were well educated and encouraged us to do our best. College was not an option. We were going—but we did get to choose where we wanted to go. Church was not an option. And we went to the same church. We went every week—Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. Going to school and doing homework were not options. We went to school every day, unless we were sick and we did homework and studied every night. Reading educational books was not an option. We were given reading assignments in addition to our school work. Disrespect was not an option. We were made to respect our parents, teachers, leaders, and others in authority. Trying new things was not an option. We were encouraged to do something different and get involved in activities.
When I was growing up, I thought my parents were STRICT. We had many boundaries, but I later learned those boundaries were there for our protection. I’m glad we didn’t have many options. Having too many options and freedom when you’re young can lead to disaster. (Giving a 9 year old a car will have disastrous results.) Having boundaries in a loving environment made me into the strong, confident, God-fearing woman that I am.
Fast forward 15-20 years, and I find myself doing the exact same things with my children. Some things are still non-negotiable. They don’t have an option to go to school. Not only are they going to school, but we expect them to learn and perform at their highest level. They are going to church every week. And we expect them to learn scripture and apply it to their lives. Laziness is not an option. They are going to remain active and live a healthy lifestyle, while actively engaging their minds. Reading is an ongoing activity and learning never stops. Respect is required. Today, we’ve lost many of these values and children are left to fend for themselves. Godly role models and biblical principles have been replaced by TV, movie stars, social media. Instead of being trend setters, we are trend followers. Many of our homes and families are headed for destruction because of a lack of family values. We have settled for the road most traveled instead of the road less traveled.
In short, I’m grateful for the upbringing I had of togetherness and love. Our home was full of life, laughter and love. I hope I’m passing those same things to my children and that they feel the love I felt growing up. I hope we as a society, will get back to those values that made for strong families and the ties that bind us. Having a good family is an investment of time, money and energy. It takes a concerted effort to make it work. If you want a more loving family, put love into your family. If you want a more peaceful family, bring peace into your home. If you want a respectful family, give respect. Whatever we sow, THAT shall we reap so practice planting good seeds and watch your family garden grow and blossom into something beautiful.
~Coletta Jones Patterson