Family is one of my biggest passions!
There is nothing I wouldn't do for my family, I'd walk a million miles to help them out and protect them.
One of my frustrations with family is the perception that you cannot be a family until you have children. The church is particularly bad for this. We struggled with childlessness for 11½ years and so often in that time we were made to feel like we weren't a family simply because we didn't have children. You'd also be amazed at how many well meaning Christians would blurt out insensitive rubbish like "God obviously isn't blessing you as you're not living in His will" which was really helpful! Once we were miraculously blessed with Joel and then Eli this changed but it has always grated with me.
As I've thought on this over the years I've come to realise that this perception of family is built on an erroneous understanding of the biblical image of family. The first family in the bible was Adam and Eve. They were a complete family unit as they were. Later they had children and their family was extended, not completed! This is a subtle but important distinction.
I honestly believe that in thinking of a family as only being family when children are in the mix leads to the imbalance of child centred households which in turn leads to a lot of problems in society. I do not accept or believe that family is dependent upon children, and have a number of childless friends who are very happy and blessed in their family lives. Family is something children are born into not something they complete.
If we truly grasp that children join us in our family rather than completing our family then we move away from a child centred home to a family centred home which is much more balanced and a much better image of the biblical family.
This post is part of a series in the Blogging From A To Z Challenge, April 2012.