Voices

Salt recipe

Studies have long shown that the chances of a child growing up to become a criminal plummet to almost zero if he is raised by two loving parents

Issue: "Saving Isaac," Nov. 10, 2007

Christians worried about the state of our culture often look for political and legal solutions. Others hope to turn things around by getting involved with the media and the entertainment industry. But culture begins at home.

Studies have long shown that the chances of a child growing up to become a criminal plummet to almost zero if he is raised by two loving parents. Two-parent families are also the most effective anti-poverty program.

One factor in the development of male homosexuality, according to Christian psychologists, is the absence of a father figure. The boy so yearns for a father's love that he becomes attracted to men. The effect of absent or emotionally distant fathers on daughters is that they so yearn for a father's love that they often become promiscuous.

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I hasten to reassure single moms that none of these dire consequences necessarily come to pass. Christians, especially, have God's promise to the fatherless that "I will be a father to you" (2 Corinthians 6:18).

But Christians who want to strike a mighty blow in the culture wars would do well to build up their own families. Spouses must spend quantity time with each other. When they are both busy in their own separate spheres, they tend to become isolated. Married couples work to counter these effects by building time in their lives to spend with each other.

Parents must spend quantity time with their children. Many children spend more time with their peers than with their parents, which means they are essentially raised by their friends. If the statistic is true that the average father spends seven minutes a day with his children, he is not doing his job.

Often churches are part of the problem, with so many activities that add to the busyness of the week rather than encouraging members to devote time to their families.

Christians also need to recover the joy of family life, not a spirit of harshness, with the father trying to rule with an iron fist and the mother controlling her children with rigid rules and severe punishments. Ironically, this approach can spark the opposite of what is intended, breeding marital discord and turning children into rebels.

A revival of the Christian family would have far-reaching cultural ramifications. A network of strong and happy families would help stabilize American culture. They would also provide a powerful Christian witness to the cultural casualties who, on the deepest level, yearn for a family like that.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith

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