Yesterday I taught a lesson at church on family. I teach the children at church, and I love them. Even the sassy ones.
During my lesson I shared with the children that I firmly believe in families. I believe families ARE central to God's plan. We talked about the fact that each of our families look different. And that no matter what our family looks like, in a family is where we best learn how to follow the teachings of Christ (ahem, or the Dalai Lama or Confucius or Muhammad or the Golden Rule): love, patience, service, kindness, forgiveness, joy, how to face the hardships of life. The list could go on.
What I didn't share (because I respect that a good majority of people at my church don't take their kids to our primary to learn this, sadly) is that I strongly believe in families of ALL shapes, sizes, colors, orientations. One mom and one dad. Single parent. No kids. Many kids. Blended families. Adopted families. Foster families. Two moms. Two dads. Straight children. Gay children.
Have you ever noticed that you are more sensitive to things your family says than things your friends say? Snide comments from family members cut more than from friends and acquaintances. Family members know you from the moment of you or they join the family. You are connected from the beginning. They are those who know you inside and out. Or they don't and you really think they should by now. And it hurts doubly when they misinterpret you.
There is something more to family relationships. I believe that for this reason the family is the place where we can most intensely learn to love. To be kind. To have patience. To stand up for ourselves and to stand up for others. To forgive.
A family isn't important because it looks a certain way. A family is important because it may just be the most effective environment to raise humans in all their potential.
So I stand for, believe in, encourage families. All of them.
6 months ago