Restoring Family Legacy as a Great Healer for our Country in 2016
In 2016, we’ll be heading down the home stretch of President Obama’s legacy, and we’ll be hunting for a new president. The coming weeks and months will be filled with rhetoric, taunts, promises, debates, spin, attacks, and yes, even hope.
But before we get to hope, I think we have to deal with some reality.
We’ve lost something, and we need to regain something. Today, our country and our world have become focused upon individual rights. It is no longer about the common good. Some call it the self-interest of politics and economics. But here’s the truth: Politics and economics are about prevailing parties and systems, nothing more. These cannot and will not bring unity.
Only cultural systems with values can unify people. And the first cultural system is family. We come into this world as individuals, but we grow in community through our very first one, the family. This first community is most important, the foundation of life. Study it—anywhere in the world where babies are born, if they are not raised and nurtured in community, they will develop the “failure to thrive” syndrome.
Family is where we first learn about the common good. Each member knows it would be ludicrous to fix dinner and feed only one family member. Instead, we recognize that all members have to eat. Through family, we learn the importance of caring for each other as a unit, not as individuals. Family acts for the common good.
Building from there, political and economic systems must be driven by the larger idea of family and its system of values. When political systems and economics drive what is good for the family and society, we have things backwards. Instead of serving the common good, these institutions start to dictate the common good.
We must learn to ask these larger questions—Is it good for all? Is it good for family? Will it promote a perpetuation of values? Will it allow families to succeed from one generation to the next? Asking these questions allows us to think about the common good and how we can sustain enduring legacies of civility, truth and honor. Any other system that neglects the common good breaks down into the chaos of individual rights alone.
If we get these ideas right, learning to act as a unified country, then we move towards hope and that which is truly enduring.