2019 | Week of July 8 | #1316
“Ok. Let’s pray. Fold your hands and bow your head. Ready? ‘Come Lord Jesus and be our Guest and let these gifts to us be blest.’ Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this good food you have provided and for taking care of us today. Be with Daddy while he’s at work and bring him home safely to us tonight. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
That’s what I overheard recently at a restaurant when a mom with a toddler and an in-arms infant came in for lunch. Needless to say, my ears and heart were on high alert. Because my back was to the neighboring table, the mother didn’t see my big smile and moist eyes.
My reaction to this sweet prayer of a mom with her young children before they ate was rooted in the reality that what I was privileged to hear just isn’t all that common anymore, sad to say.
My reaction was also rooted in the beauty of family done God’s way, which means that precious little girl and adorable little boy who are growing up in a home with their married father and mother, will most likely avoid all the tragic pathologies that kids face who grow up in family structures that don’t reflect God’s design.
In addition, my reaction was rooted in the knowledge that when a family’s faith is strong enough that it includes praying out loud before eating a meal at a restaurant, I am confident that this is a family that most likely regularly attends church and who talk about God and Jesus frequently with their children. All of this bodes well for this marriage and family going the distance, not to mention what it means regarding their individual eternities.
In a nutshell, this heartwarming scene was a reminder that family structure really matters. Marriage and family done God’s way comes with blessings for those involved, even if they don’t worship God or even acknowledge Him. It’s part of His common grace to humankind. Family structures done man’s way, typically harm people in multiple ways, often repeated generationally until someone in that line purposefully determines to break the destructive cycle.
This truth is why Wisconsin Family Council publishes our Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators every five years, with the most recent edition released last week.
Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2019 Edition, is a unique publication, bringing together important data regarding the health and well-being of our state in a way no other work in the state does. This 2019 edition, following the concept we used in the 2014 edition, gives special attention to family structure. While common sense and anecdotal data tell us that family structure is directly related to our state’s well-being, the data is overwhelmingly in support of this position.
Our hope is policymakers, educators, community leaders, pastors and ministry leaders, and others will find great value in this work and will use the information to guide them as they consider policies, plans and programs. In our thinking, much more time and significantly more resources should be directed to strengthening, preserving and promoting married dad-and-mom households if we want to ensure a bright future for our own families, as well as for our churches, communities, state and nation.
Virtually all the indicators we look at in Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2019 Edition, would be improved if we returned to the “gold standard” for marriage and family. Social science research continues to show, among other things, that children who grow up in the homes of their married dads and moms, on average, do better in school, avoid trouble with the law, are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, are less likely to experience abuse of any kind, enjoy better health, are less likely to experience poverty, more likely to delay sexual activity, and are more likely to marry and have strong marriages themselves than are children in any other family structure.
And that is why my heart was encouraged as I heard a young wife and mother pray before having lunch with her children at a local restaurant, especially mentioning their daddy. An intact family is God’s plan, and it brings blessings and benefits to those who make it a reality for them and their children.
Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators 2019 Edition is available online at wifamilycouncil.org or by calling 888-378-7395. |
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”