Family is important, but in today’s society families are beset by divorce, the absence of parents, imprisonment, breakdown of authority, and a host of other problems. The concept of family is extremely important in the Bible and was introduced in the very beginning, as we see in Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'” God’s plan for creation was for men and women to marry and have children. A man and a woman would form a “one-flesh” union through marriage (Genesis 2:24), and they with their children become a family, the essential building block of human society. Families are building blocks that impact society and society impacts our country. So an ideal country is not only build by government but also each and every family member.
Recently I was again reminded of this importance as we had “Family Nights” at the prison in which I serve at. This was the first time that the men inside of our Faith/Character Based Honor Dorm had a family night since November, 2009. This night was a reward to those men who had stayed out of trouble and had chosen to live in a more structured lifestyle. It was a night where their family members could join them for a 4 hour visit and eat all the Pizza, snacks and cookies that they can. It was a night where they could be together as family! Many things happened during these family nights that brought tears to my eyes, tears of sadness and tears of joy. I saw children hanging out with their daddy’s, wives with their husbands, moms with their sons, dads with their sons, sisters with their brothers, brothers with their brothers, grandma’s with their grandsons and even grandchildren with their grandpas. I also saw many who sat and ate their pizza alone with no family. The anticipation each night was evident as the men waited in the visitation area for their family members to arrive. You could see by the looks on their faces who was expecting family and who wasn’t.
Each evening I made a point to walk from one table to another and talk to the men and their families. One guy eagerly introduced me to his grandmother and sister who had driven several hundred miles to see him that night. Another man introduced me to his wife of 50 years, another introduced me to his five year old granddaughter, and another introduced me to his mom who was sitting on a wheelchair whom he had not seen in six years. Each table was busting with excitement and conversation, each family was back together for this one night.
As I looked at what was happening before my eyes I was reminded how important it is to nurture and protect our families. For those who had no family visiting them it was just another night of loneliness, another reminder of that devastating moment in which they lost their family. Some lost their families due to the crime they bad committed, some families had given up on them, some of the men had been incarcerated long enough that all their family had died and others were separated by the distance between them.
Friends, a true family is the one and only place where your life begins and love never ends. You may have lots of people in your life, but family is your blood and they are the people who accept you for who you are, who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what. Love your family!