Throughout human history, the institution of family has been the foundation of society. A man and a woman come together to form a new family where they live in union and share their lives together, and as fruit of their love, children are born. Parents nurture and enable their children face the challenges of life by working hard and creating a loving and caring environment. Strong family ties provide us the love and security we need for a happy life. Children grow into responsible adults through example, instruction and discipline. Duties and responsibilities are shared for the good of everyone.
The foundation for family life can be found in the creation story in the Holy Bible: “But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female. This is why a man leaves his father and mother, and the two become one flesh. They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide” (Mk 10:6-9).
But today this age-old sacred institution of Family is under severe threat of annihilation. For many people marriage, which is the starting point a new family, is not even considered an option. They instead prefer the option of cohabitation. For them, marriage is a meaningless and costly ceremony which unnecessarily binds them to a contractual agreement. Devoid of such an agreement, they are free to break up any time and join another partner for cohabitation.
And for many, who, for reasons of social and religious pressure, enter into marriage, it lasts only for a short while. Divorces even for frivolous reasons are so common in today’s society. It is a genuine tragedy that leaves the marriage partners embittered and disillusioned and robs the children of the love and security of a healthy family.
Yet others today redefine the age-old tradition of marriage between a man and a woman. In some parts of the world, it is legal to contract a marriage between a man and a man and woman and a woman! This is putting the axe at the very foundation of the society itself which is founded on family life. The very purpose of creating human beings as male and female by God is defeated here.
Children have become burdensome to parents and therefore many of them decide either not to have children or if they are conceived, abort them even before they are born. This, apart from murdering the innocent and defenceless human lives, is writing the epitaph of the institution of family and society.
Yet another tragic situation that destroys the family bond is that many children consider their parents, as they get aged, as mere burdens, as old fashioned and out of touch with the reality. This attitude forces them to move their parents to nursing homes or houses for the aged, where they live in bitter loneliness and depression.
Happy and loving families, on the contrary, testify that family life can be a heavenly experience. For them it is a place of acceptance, understanding, sharing and loving sacrifices. They prove that family is the most important social unit within the society and the ideal place to acquire all that is needed to face the challenges of life.