“And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness.” 2 Chronicles 31:18.
There was once a meeting of tools to solve their differences. The hammer held the presidency. But the assembly notified him he had to resign. The cause? He made to much noise! He was spending his whole time banging.
The hammer accepted his guilt, but also requested that the screwdriver be expelled; he said he gave too many twists to the matter to do something. The screwdriver also accepted, but called for the expulsion of the sandpaper. He showed how very rough it was in his treatment and always had friction with everyone. The sandpaper agreed, provided that the tape measure would be expelled as he always was spending his time measuring others, as if he was the only one to be perfect.
At this moment the carpenter entered and started his work using the hammer, the sandpaper, the tape measure and the screwdriver. Finally the initial coarse wood became a beautiful chessboard. When the carpentry workshop stayed completely empty, the assembly resumed its deliberation. The handsaw took the floor and said: ‘Gentlemen it has become clear that we all have flaws, but the carpenter works with our qualities. That’s what makes us valuable.’
This brief allegory is very interesting in its application to the style of each family. Normally we are a family unit and we want to live with each other, such as with our spouse, children and others. Each family member brings their own characteristics, which will establish the identifying features of it.
When the family is considered as a structure of relationships of love, kinship, alliances, exchange and complementation among those who compose it, this confirms that each one has a peculiar way of life. The relationship established between family members is based on the principles, behaviors, and singularities and future project of each of its components.
Unity in Diversity
“Marked diversities of disposition and character frequently exist in the same family, for it is in the order of God that persons of varied temperament should associate together … and the blending of the varied temperaments may be a benefit to each.” Child Guidance, p. 205.
The contribution of each member of the family with its uniqueness in style, based on the combination of different temperaments in partnership, which requires adaptation, flexibility, exchange, renouncement and improvement of the contribution of each of the family members. The combination of each of these elements provides a unique human association, the family.
A crucial element in the style of a positive family is the strong sense of commitment to each other. The bond of belonging among all member states dedication and willingness to help each other. The family functions as a unit and each member is equally important and valuable. Although there are clear differences between each of them, these are exalted in function of bonding love, thus making a great contribution to the uniqueness of the family.
“God has put men and women in possession of precious gifts. To different ones He has given different gifts. Not all have the same strength of character or the same depth of knowledge. But each one is to use his gifts in the Master’s service, however small this gift may seem to be. The faithful steward trades wisely on the goods entrusted to him.” The Upward Look, p. 379.
It is very important to consider the family as a safety area, rest and refuge. Each member should feel safe and comfortable among a group of people assisting them, respects and help constructively for their own good and for the whole, so they relate to each other in peace and a deep sense of harmony. Quality time shared in the family, like talking, playing, praying are elements that identify in great measure the values and priorities that characterize each of the members of this wonderful basic cell of society. Levels of tolerance, understanding, adaptation and correction that are inserted, not only creates a style of existence, but also promotes religious principles, practiced social values, ideals and future shared projects, and applied corrective or discipline methods.
“In our home we have no dissension, no words of impatience. My workers are different in temperament, and their ways and manners are different, but we blend in action and stand united in spirit, seeking to help and strengthen one another. We know that we cannot afford to be a variance because we differ in temperament. We are God’s little children, and we ask Him to help us to live, not to please ourselves and to have our own way, but to please and glorify Him.” (Letter 252, 1903.) Evangelism, p. 102.
“The home circle should be regarded as a sacred place, a symbol of heaven, a mirror in which to reflect ourselves. Friends and acquaintances we may have, but in the home life they are not to meddle. A strong sense of proprietorship should be felt, giving a sense of ease, restfulness, trust.” The Adventist Home, p. 177.
Trust is one of the most important elements in the bond established between the family members. The couple must maintain a transparent relationship of mutual trust that is expressed in the demonstrated friendship, expressed in openness, imparted naturalness and donated warmth. The principles governing the relation of certainty in the couple are transferred to their children in form of security, decision, determination, confidence, calmness, vigor and energy.
When the term trust is understood properly, its development and appropriation is facilitated as an inseparable part of the family relationship, because security or firm hope existing among the members conform the definition of the family concept.
The practice of love and recognition implies an attitude of support and strengthening among family members, as they motivate each other in developing the potential of each one and in the optimization of individual faculties. Having common goals and interests help them to provide and distribute them as a vital current between all members of the family acting as a defense, sponsorship and favor, giving encouragement and energy as a precious guarantee of the family.
“The faith that works by love and purifies the soul stands at the helm, presiding over the entire household.” Signs of the Times, February 17, 1904.
Communication, closeness in sharing common goals and interests encourages spending time together and strengthens each of the family members in an unconscious mutual support mechanism. Even when difficulties and problems arise, the trust that is maintained is willing to discuss and find solutions to the crisis. The given attention to each of the family members is a very important transmitted support aspect, for healthy growth should be directly related to the time spent together, shared experiences, memories that link and identify each members of the family as a whole, strengthens each individual in the difficulties or problems that they have to face.
Generally communication is considered as the act of transferring information, feelings and ideas between two or more people. However, in the field of good family communication it is not just human verbal expression but includes other very significant and complementary elements that make communication an educational, enjoyable, recreational and educational action.
Communication establishes interpersonal contact that should not be limited to sharing information, but must promote empathy like developing interest, understanding, care and identification to unite us through affection with our spouse or with a family member who is capable of communicate and express his feelings freely and receive in return the ability to actively listen, for the direct or indirect communication, has also to be identified, paving the way for closeness, recognition and solving problems.
Knowing each of the family members should be a priority and careful disposition, paying attention to the exchange of information, emotions, feelings, events, dreams, plans and future must be a permanent attitude in the style of a happy Christian family.
“The Lord is in active communication with every part of His vast dominions. He is represented as bending toward the earth and its inhabitants. He is listening to every word that is uttered. He hears every groan; He listens to every prayer; He observes the movements of every one. …” My Life Today, p. 292.
“Charity never faileth…” 1 Corinthians 13:8.
The family is, in general, the first environment in which the human being begins to develop after birth and it is precisely in this environment where he receives, learns, exchanges and develops love as a dynamic for his existence and his relationship.
Each family unconsciously creates an environment based on the values that drive their behaviors and their principles, which are expressed, practiced and taught day after day.
The principle of love that unites the couple is transferred to their children in a direct way, because love is seen, is felt, is demonstrated and is tangible in his first family relationships and reach other levels of development in the same proportion that extends and develops in each member.
God’s definition of love expresses the attributes that He wants to see in His children and their families:
“The love of God in the heart will lead us to speak gentle words. “Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.” Shall we not remember this? If the love of God is in our hearts, we shall not think evil, we shall not be easily disturbed, we shall not give loose rein to passion; but we shall show that we are yoked up with Christ, and that the restraining power of his Spirit leads us to speak words that he can approve. The yoke of Christ is the restraint of his Holy Spirit; and when we become heated by passion, let us say, “No; I have Christ by my side, and I will not make him ashamed of me by speaking hot, fiery words.” The Review & Herald, January 25, 1898.