We read about the dysfunctionality of the American family every day. Yet we’re exposed to “perfect” families by the score when we see Facebook or Instagram posts. It would seem that most people in this country have the ideal life. We see them traveling together, creating things, eating sumptuous meals, living the good life. It starts to make us feel that something is lacking in our own family.
When I was a kid, I felt my family was totally dysfunctional. I compared everything to what my friends had. They lived in nice homes with a mom that wore an apron and put fantastic meals on the table each day. They had family vacations that boggled my mind. They seemed so happy to be together. They were superfunctional. I think I just created a new word.
As I looked up the definition for the word dysfunctional this morning, I found the following synonyms:
Nobody wants to admit that about their families, nor about their life in general. However, as a I started my own family and joined my life to a person with his own background, we seemed to be creating yet another dysfunctional family. Unfortunately, we all have skeletons in the closet. We all have secrets that we would never want another human being to know about.
When our children were young, we decided to set up a time for Bible study with them. We determined to do so after supper, when we had a captive audience. As for me and my childhood, that would have been the least perfect time. My dad worked the night shift and even though mom insisted on dinner together each evening, he wasn’t at his best. Our times around the dinner table were often a series of arguments, chastisement, lectures and discomfort. I didn’t want that for my own children. So we set time aside each evening to work our way through the Bible starting with the Book of Genesis.
Our children were old enough to read and comprehend what they read, but this method proved to be a real struggle. After all the thees and thous along with biographies that spanned hundreds of years, we lost our captive audience. I can’t imagine how young families find time today for Bible study.
Over my own life. I realize that once you get beyond all those difficult names and relationships, there’s really a lot of meat to digest. The stories of dysfunctional families jump off the pages, and I believe God inspired those words so we could learn how to deal with situations like greed, jealousy, hate, heritage, legacies, loving each other, showing compassion – all the things that are pertinent to every family out there. In the words of that first book alone, there are stories of murder, incest, deception, stealing a birthright, selling a brother into slavery, adultery, sodomy, over indulgence. Stories that have also inspired best selling novels over time.
When you think about it, if we’re left to our own devices, we often fall into bad habits. We turn away from God and try to go it alone. We think we know better than our own heavenly Father. Having Him as the head of the family is a good start for establishing functionality. He is our Creator and knows everything about us. When we place our focus on Him and His plan for us, we have a far better chance of leading a fairly normal life.