The family is the foundation of society. It’s the basic unit of society – the most important. It’s the place where we learn how to love or more generally, how to be in the world.
The launching pad from which we’re all sprung.
The bow from which the arrow is fired.
It’s so important that it’s how God became flesh – in a family.
Everything – economics, markets, Governments, States – must be made to serve the family.
The family begins in the love of a man and a woman, although that’s now being questioned.
To love another person is to seek that person’s good, it’s to desire that the other person becomes the best version of him/herself, to desire that the other person becomes the person that God intended him/her to be. This is the work of the family.
Nothing is as difficult as love. I’m serious. Primarily because we reduce it to one of it’s constituent parts, namely physical attraction. So let’s throw love around a little. What is it?
Actually to love is to become a moral person. Love is not just attraction. Try living in love without faithfulness. It’ll tear your heart out. Suddenly love also means faithfulness. What’s love without justice? I love you, but I’ll walk all over you! Suddenly, love includes justice, acting justly. What’s love without self-control? I’m angry so I’ll knock your head off! Suddenly, love now includes self-control. What about trust, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, truthfulness (honesty and personal integrity), forgiveness? Love is made of many different parts – virtues. Relationships don’t just fail, they fail because people don’t grow in virtue. To love is to become a moral person. A child, tomorrow‘s adult learns the art of love in the family.
In the family we learn to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and mean it, we learn to say ‘please’ or as Pope Francis says we learn to ask “may I”, it’s where we learn to say ‘thank you’, to say ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘forgive me’, where we learn respect for ourselves and for other people, for other people’s property. It’s where we learn to be a father or a mother. It’s where we learn to be moral people – before and above everything else we are moral people; our primary identity – moral people who can choose. Unless we’re moral people we’ll wreck everything! This is what distinguishes us from the animals, this is what makes us human.
Where these qualities are in short supply the family might survive outwardly, but inwardly it’s already a broken family and the people involved may be broken, they may not be whole within and they may reproduce the brokenness wherever they go, not always, but very often, not always because although at great personal cost we can still choose to be otherwise.
Nonetheless, as the family goes so will society go.
Nothing is more important than the family. We’ve got to get this right, and everything must be made to serve the family.