Two quotes from the 19th century psychologist, Johann Friedrich Herbart, that I found in Charlotte Mason's book, School Education:
"To the child, the family should be the symbol of the order in the world; from the parents, one should derive by idealisation the characteristics of the deity."
"The education of the children will always remain the holiest and highest of all family duties. The welfare, civilisation, and culture of a people depend essentially upon the degree of success that attends the education in the homes. The family principle is the point at which both the religious and educational life of a people centres, and about which it revolves. It is a force in comparison with which every sovereign's command appears powerless."
I find it so interesting that they recognized the family as the center of society, of culture, of civilization. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it was still considered the most important place to begin learning about the world around you.
I feel like in today's world, the importance of the family is greatly undermined. We devalue everything from sibling relationships (especially in media, where it's portrayed as typical and even good for a teen to be more loyal to his friends than his or her siblings) to the mother's role in the home ("What do you do all day?"). Divorce is as easy as ever. There are families with two mothers. The public school system is trying to take over every role of the parent, from discussing the birds and bees to teaching ethics.
I've come up with an analogy for this. Back in the 1950s, fast food seemed pretty cool. No one saw
anything wrong with eating trash. But now we are starting to realize that our bodies need natural, whole foods. It's simply how we are made. Are we going to make the same mistake with families?
The human race has evolved within the family unit. It's how we're made. The family will always be the basic unit of society. The sooner we disassemble it, the sooner we bring on the collapse of all we know. Just as our health is failing because of the foods we are eating, our society will fail because of the disruption of the family.
God set up the first family unit. It's how civilization got its start. If Heavenly Father set it up that way, there must have been a reason. Just as he prepared the earth to give us the natural, whole foods that were perfect for our bodies, he set up a basic governmental unit that was perfect for our emotional and spiritual health.
Please share any comments or thoughts you have below. Even if you disagree, let me know. As a society we need to talk about this.