New Zealand families today
A family is the place we call ‘home’. The family has been called ‘the school of life’. It’s in our family we first experience what it means to be human, and where most of us learn to live in ways that lead to our own wellbeing and to being able to contribute to the good of society. Our family of origin may shape our own family that we start as an adult.
Any parish community is made up of individual families. Families are about people and relationships. Healthy families are reflected in a healthy society and a healthy Church.
Families are lifelong.
In the past 50 years in New Zealand families have gone through many changes. The traditional family of parents and child or children is what many of us think of when we consider family. However, families come in all shapes and sizes. There are biological families, extended families, foster families, adoptive families, blended families as well as created families, which come about through living situations.
Families are a cornerstone of society and Church. They respond most immediately and intimately to the basic needs of human beings – the need for love and belonging, for nurture and shelter, for learning and growing. It’s where we first learn about being loved and about loving.
However, families can be vulnerable and under pressure from outside forces because they don’t exist in a vacuum.
A family can be the safest place to live; but sometimes for a child – or even an adult – a family can be a most dangerous place because they are not protected by or from its members against abuse. Families need our care and protection to help them to be the best families they can be. Families need our practical support as well as timely and appropriate intervention to help them become better able to care for their members. Families need our support while they heal.
In my experience most families do the best job they can in educating their children and in caring for their elderly members.
Being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences and one of the most challenging roles any of us can have. Being part of a family can be both rewarding and difficult.
Families need to be honoured, valued and supported by all sectors of church and society.
Families are very important for the Church.
A Christian family most beautifully reflects the dynamic and relational love of the Trinity – Creator, Son and Holy Spirit.
A family is a most radical sacrament of love.