Who could forget Winston Churchill’s famous words; “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.” Although Churchill was talking about Germans and WWII – also sounds a lot like a family vacation.

It reminds me of the time we took our kids to dinner in Jerusalem. We were all starving so we walked over to Ben Eudia street to have a nice dinner. I think the kids were something like 8, 11 and 12. One of them threw back their head and let out a 90 db belch. We were horrified – this was a nice restaurant and everyone stopped to stare at us. Of course the other two thought this was so funny – they lost control – all three of them were laughing hysterically. The more I tried to calm them the more out of control they got. Then another one let out a belch – I was so mad. With clinched teeth I said, “You guys stop this right now or I’ll never take you out to dinner again.” Of course everyone was staring at us and whispering – one guy leaned over to his wife and said, “Look, dear, quality time!”

Like everything else, the family is subject to the 2nd law of thermodynamics; “Anything left to its self will break down from order to disorder”

This is so important because as the family goes, so goes society! You might remember sociologist and historian Carle Zimmerman’s classic book Family and Civilization. It was published in 1947. He studied and compared the disintegration of various nations and found some common elements. He then identified 8 patterns of domestic behavior which preceded the collapse of the nation…

  • Marriage loses its sacredness; is frequently broken by divorce.
  • Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost.
  • Feminist movements abound.
  • Increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general.
  • Acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion.
  • Refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities. (Dead Beat)
  • Growing desire for and acceptance of adultery.
  • Increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes.

Sounds a little like America doesn’t it?

So what can we do to protect our families?

One of the most important things we can do is to affirm one another. Romans 12:10 says; “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” There is no institution on earth that should embrace this verse more than the family. But that doesn’t always happen. In fact we often reserve our worse behavior for those we love the most.

It reminds me of the young couple who were driving down a country road in complete silence. They had an argument and neither wanted to concede. As they passed a barnyard full of mules and pigs, the wife sarcastically asked, “Relatives of yours?” The husband said, “Yep, my In-laws.”

So this week, how about looking for something you can complement in every member of you family. That may not be the easiest thing to do but I’ll tell you, one, positive, affirming complement can go a long ways toward keep a family on the same page.