Maybe it’s because I see so many unhealthy families I’m writing this. Maybe it’s because I’m trying myself to discover the answer to this question. As I write this I understand that every family is different and there is no one size fits all. However, I do believe there are key ingredients that are critical to making any family a healthy bunch.
#1: FAITH Faith is the foundation that all healthy families are built upon. Only faith can keep mom and dad together. Only faith can keep everyone in the house on the same page. Many speak about God, but few choose to put their faith in God. As we open the pages of God’s word we either read those words for entertainment or we apply them by faith. As a man, as a husband, and as a dad I must never think I am self-made. I’ve got to trust God for everything and through anything. A family not resting on a solid foundation of faith is bound to crash it’s just a matter of when this happens.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
#2: HOPE A healthy family is a hopeful family. Hope is found where there is a true sense that God is in control and has a plan no matter what happens. Our hope must be in something and someone greater than ourselves. Hope gives us reason to wake up each morning and to look forward to tomorrow. Our kids must know that our hope does not stem from our paychecks, our circumstances, or any of our abilities. Instead, our hope is found in a one and only loving Heavenly Father who has and always will prove Himself faithful. God is our creator, our sustainer, our savior, our provider, and has plans of hope that none of us deserve.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
#3: LOVE A healthy family is a loving family. Home should be that place where every member feels they can let their hair down, show all their cards, and still be loved. Kids especially need to feel a love that is rarely experienced outside of home. A love that is spoken through words and deeds. Love creates a feeling of security and an unbreakable bond. Within every healthy home you will find an unconditional love that takes everyone beyond their differences and through the many storms each family will face.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
#4: FRIENDSHIPS I have to be honest and say I’ve always felt like families who alienate themselves from everyone else are a bit strange. Now, I’m not saying these people don’t have good reason for what they are doing. But, healthy families generally have healthy friendships. In this journey called life, friends are critical to battling loneliness, discouragement, and we all need some healthy ones. For instance, I’m not against home schooling if a parent believes it’s the best choice for their child. But, I am not in favor of alienating your child from all of society. We all have to learn how to live in this world, but yet not act like this world. We all need friends who can sharpen us and support us through the ups and downs of each day.
“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18)
#5: FUN If you can’t share a few laughs with your family you probably don’t enjoy being home. I sincerely believe God wants us to enjoy our time with one another and not take ourselves so seriously. Yes, we need to seek to live with focus and purpose. But, nobody says you’ve got to be miserable along the way. This may not be as important as the things I’ve already mentioned, but I believe families need to learn how to have fun together. Live, laugh, and have a ball every step of the way.
A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.(Proverbs 17:22)
I’m tired of families waking up to the American nightmare, when God has plans to bless us, prosper us, and guide us to greener pastures. Please understand that there will never be a perfect family this side of Heaven. We are all works in progress. But, I’m convinced these five ingredients will make any family a healthy bunch.