Family means different things to different folks.
Some think family is 2.5 kids, white picket fence, a dog in the yard, and a secure job.
Others think family is the working force on a large ranch.
While others exist in single parent households fighting to survive.
No matter the definition of family, there is a necessary environment of trust all families require to be functional.
I was talking to a kid the other day, obviously struggling through some issues. His behaviour was out of the ordinary, and it just seemed like something was off. We started talking, and the fountain sprung forth…
"My mom and dad were divorced a long time ago. My mom is counting on me to be the responsible man in the family, but she's out partying all the time. I don't hold it against her, but I just wish we could all sit around the table and have dinner together sometime."
The interesting part of our conversation turned when the young man revealed his deep desire to have parents in his life. He just wanted parents to act like parents, and let him grow up through his own teenage stuff.
As I sat patiently listening, I began to think about our culture, and the new parent culture. I've got 5 kids of my own, so I get this. I understand the parent side of the equation.
We're dealing with getting older, and loosing the youthful spontaneity.
We're working through the consequences of our youthful decisions.
Some of us are trying to ask, "So now what? I thought I would be ________ but I'm only a ________ so what am I going to do with the rest of my life?"
And all the while our kids are watching us, and just wanting a Mom, or a Dad, or better yet; both!
The importance of family can't be overstated. In the lives of teenagers, family gives them a sense of trust, a foundation of reliability, and a hope the world will be ok. When the family gets rocked through a tragic event, a loss, or a bitter divorce, the foundation is rocked.
Teenagers start looking for somewhere they can place their trust, ANYWHERE. And, most often they find security in the people that won't let them down. They migrate to places where the people in the group come off like a pseudo-family.
My encounter with this young man just prompted me to encourage you today, Fight for Family. Fight for the people who are counting on you today.
Life gets hard.
It always looks like there is an easy way out.
But most of the time the easy way proves to be a detriment for others.