The Happy Family

As many of you know I have an anomalous interest in the family. I find the idea of families utterly fascinating on both a personal and professional (social work) level. Consequentially I enjoy surrounding myself with spiritual and secular literature pertaining to family make up, break down, parenting, relationships, sibling dynamics, and happiness. My most recent read is a book titled The Happy Family by Richard and Linda Eyre. In their book, the Eyres suggest that many of America’s social problems are a direct consequence of disregarding the family. I couldn’t agree more.

In the book, one of my favorite sections is highlighted by an astounding yet simple quote by C.S. Lewis that reads, “The homemaker is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose and that is to support the ultimate career.” Isn’t that beautiful? The authors interpret Lewis' use of “homemaker” to mean “the home”, or the family. Thus saying, “The home is the ultimate career.” Essentially, everything we do should be for the purpose of supporting the home. Everything we do—work, learn, and recreation—should build the family. Our work should support the family, not the other way around. Our learning should support the family, not the other way around. And our recreation should support the family, not the other way around…

Hmmmm... as a society are we not completely off base? The authors use an example asking, What is the first question you’re asked upon meeting someone new (aside from your name): What do you do? And more often than not they’re not talking about your family. Yet, isn't success in the home the ultimate success? And failure in the home, the ultimate failure? Well, the reality is corporate America doesn’t tend to care much for your family. Why? It's about being on top and of course money. Thus, they don’t exist to support your family. They expect your family to work around them, even if that means missing your child’s sporting event, your husband's or wife’s birthday, or a family dinner. Yet, the very roots of work stem from sustaining the family—not greed, not personal fulfillment, but supporting the family. Think back to the days of living off the land. The focus then was solely to uphold the family. Thus where in the past people worked in order to live, people now live to work. Now, obviously we can’t all just up and quit our jobs (Not to mention, not every employer fails to support the family.). We need work. We need to work to support our families. But we constantly need to check our focus to ensure we're doing our best to make building the family our highest priority amdist all opposition.

As a member of the LDS faith, the Eyre’s thoughts really struck home for me as the family is truly at the core of my religion. We believe families can be together forever, in this life and in the life hereafter. We believe families to be eternal. As Elder Eyring defined, “Eternal life means to become like the Father and to live in families in happiness and joy forever…” Ultimately, we believe we can become like God the Father and live happily in our families forever, and ever, and ever. Families are of the utmost importance. With that lens, you can see why constantly refocusing on the family is so critical. My every action should be weighted by how it supports the family. What would Jesus do? Build the Kingdom of God, and I believe build and support the family.

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