“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu
Saturday morning I was rushing, trying to get a good breakfast on the table (gingerbread pancakes, maple syrup sausage and coconut banana-orange smoothies) before a long day in Washington, PA. I asked Rafal and Ania to pitch in and help. Rafal balked waiting for his first opportunity to check out of the kitchen and ran up to his room, slamming his door, because I didn’t answer him quickly enough.
When he came back down, I yelled at him, “This is not your day! This isn’t about your whims and your likes and dislikes. It’s Dad’s day. We are going to celebrate the opening of his new restaurant!”
I am not a yeller. Ask anyone who knows me, it takes a hulking straw to break my camel’s back. Saturday, it shattered. When we got to the van, I apologized and asked him to forgive me, adding,
“I am not sorry for what I said. I am sorry for how I said it.”
He replied, “I’m sorry Mom. I yell at you all the time and you hardly ever yell at me. Thanks for the food.”
This incidents speaks of things that have been percolating in my heart this month as I revisit a study on family. I should have been yelling at myself (although Rafal did need some correction) because of my attitude. I was running behind already because I was reading a book ‘I couldn’t put down’. I knew it was Jerry’s day, friends and family day at Olive Garden in Washington.
The family is the micro-unit of society. Each unit has a system of government and set of presuppositions they live by. Nehemiah understood the importance of the family unit. When he went to Jerusalem to rebuilt the wall of defense around it, he had each family build in front of their own home (see Nehemiah 3). The wall of defense must be built first in our own home in order to build a strong family,community, church and nation.
In Saturday’s incident, I wasn’t building a wall of defense around my family, being proactive and leaving plenty of time to make a nourishing breakfast before a long day out. Instead, I was self-serving, reading a book and lingering too long on myself. Oh but, I was learning so much from that book, I told myself. Hogwash. I let my sword slip out of its sheath, clattering to the ground in carelessness. Maybe the story above seems like a minor in a world of majors, a world that seems to be breaking apart at the seams, a society built on shoddy gods and humanistic pursuits, why does preparing a hearty homemade breakfast and honoring a dad even matter?
Each micro unit of family provides a strong block to build a society on. Examine every society that has fallen, when individual units become more interested in pleasing themselves than in pursuing activities that enhance the lives of others, the family will crumble and with it goes the society leaning on it.