The Lost Art of Family

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via Clean Food Living

“Cooking skills used to be passed down from generation to generation but this trend has been broken and now millions of people lack even the most basic skills.”Clean Food Living

This grabbed my heart today.

What a truth. We are dealing with the terrible repercussions of lost cooking skills. People are living with disease and some are even dying young because we simply don’t know how to eat. Oh friends, if only this were the worst loss we were facing.

This apparent loss of cooking skills is only indicative of a much larger problem: So many things used to be passed down from generation to generation, but now millions of people lack even the most basic skills of… everything.

This list of what we’ve lost is endless: all kinds of skills, passions, strength-development, wisdom, character. Losing generation-to-generation instruction impacts… everything. And we are deeply suffering as a society and as individuals. We are lacking things we don’t even know are missing. How terrible it is: We have lost the power and value of family.

It used to be different. Our human history is full of fathers and sons working side-by-side. Mothers and daughters teaming together. Children learning from their parents. Parents learning from their children. Surviving. Thriving. Living intertwined. Wisdom, skills, and family character passed down from generation to generation. Elders esteemed. Youthful passion utilized. Family as a team. Each member depending on the other. Each member valuable and needed.

We’ve lost this ancient way. And today I’m grieving it. The repercussions are major. We’ve thrown an important and beautiful baby out with the bath water.

Of course, the reasons we revolted were important at the time. Nepotism and social class oppression are terrible things. It is a wonderful thing for a child to have a future full of opportunities unrestricted by family name or status. But in our fight against unfair family power and in our pursuit of non-familial opportunities, did we inadvertently lose the incredible, unmatchable, life-giving power of family?

In our decade as youth pastors, we saw the wrestle in far too many families: As children become young adults they push against their parents. Young men and women rising up against their fathers and mothers. Parents frustrated and hurt by the heart-of-battle in their newly adult children. Too many queen bees in the hive. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone trying to be the boss. And no place for real interaction to happen. No canvas for all the colors to be swirled together. No sports field for a team to play on. And instead of fighting something together, families can end up fighting each other.

I want to teach my children the basic skills of cooking. Nutrition is very important. But that seems almost trivial in the grand scheme of things. I want to give my children EVERYTHING I have to give them. Yes cooking. And also everything else. This is so beautiful: Yahweh chose me to be their mother. And He chose my husband to be their father. We are good for them, and they are good for us. Our family is bursting with potential. Synergetic gold. Unlimited possibilities.

Our little ones are destined to grow up. It is God’s good plan that babies mature to full stature. I look forward to those days. And I have a hope in my heart: that the full value and power of family could be ours.

I know. It’s idealistic. It’s a fairy tale. But isn’t it the cry of every mother’s heart? And if so many of us are feeling the lack of it, then maybe it is something we are supposed to have? Something worth fighting for? Could it be that family really is the most essential and important organization of all humanity? Let’s grab that baby from the discarded bath water.

Of course, gone are the days where the Smith family are actually blacksmiths. Where Papa Smith has learned the trade from a long line of smithies. Where the baby Smiths are learning daily at the ankles of their patriarch. These practices are, in our culture, mostly gone. But it’s clear to see that a trade is not the most important thing that can be passed on.

My heart is not hoping that our children would have the same career paths as us. But that, in whatever career, our children would have their father’s integrity, wisdom, faithful tenacity, and loving respect for all humans. That they would have their mother’s discernment, fortitude, wisdom, and ability to see beauty everywhere. That they would receive not just our family name but also our family character. Our passion for Yahweh and His Word. Our love for and eagerness to learn from the cultures of this world. And our daily choice to love each other in covenant. That our children would know the humble bliss of mercy, grace and forgiveness. That we would all know the power of learning from each other. Serving each other. Leading each other. Preferring each other. Loving each other.

It should be more common for children to want to be like their parents. Shouldn’t it? I really wish children (and spouses) could see their parent (spouse) in the workplace. It would be life-changing to watch an authority and role model live out their convictions and character in everyday life. I believe the fruit would be inspired and eager children and, I dare say, inspired and eager (read: more accountable) parents. There is something so basic and good about children learning from their parents and vice-versa.

My children have an extraordinary father. He is a man worth emulating. “Morris and Sons” would be a company worth establishing. Wonderfully, it already is. “Morris and family” was established 1999. Regaining the lost art of family is our corporate goal. We are a team. A people unified in love. You hear me? I am desperate for this to be true. Every moment of every day.

Our kids don’t get to see their father at work each day. And I’m not entirely happy about the shadow of myself they are seeing everyday in our home. So, I’m not sure what it means practically. But I do know there is a cry in my heart for my children, and for the children of our society. That they would have parents worth copying. That children would be excited to be part of their family team. That families would be working together to do great and wonderful things. To affect the world with love and passion and powerful synergy. (Side thought: Isn’t this also what the Body of Christ is supposed to be?) And I believe, albeit naively, that we can reclaim the goodness of true family.

I am not okay with homes of strife where children rage against their parents. I am not okay with families being split apart because they have no real reason to be together. This mama-bear has something growing deep in her heart.

Holy Spirit, show us the way to be like You… the plural “Elohim”… a triune God-head… intertwined… working together… One.

Oh. 3pm. Time to teach my kids how to make a healthy snack. And so much more.

I will teach you hidden lessons from our past — stories we have heard and know, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did. … so the next generation might know them — even the children not yet born — that they in turn might teach their children. So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. (Psalm 78:2b-7 NLT)

3 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Family

  1. Jessie Clemence says:

    Since it’s summer and I’m home 24/7 with the kids, I am also feeling the practical side of this. I’m not sure that I’m doing any of this well enough, but I do know my kids are seeing the REALITY of a lot of time with Mom. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes we’re working really hard together, and sometimes I fall on the couch and take a nap. How this will help develop the concept of family, I really can’t say. 🙂

    • MercifulDays says:

      Jessie, I’ve been mulling over your words: “How this will help develop the concept of family, I really can’t say.” I’m thinking about my amazing mum and how I have deliberately chosen to add things from her life into mine. Those things are not things she actively taught me. They are things that I learned from watching her live. And, honestly, it was from the days when she was overwhelmed, distraught, at her end… because I watched her go to her room to pray. Put on worship music and sing. Grab her Bible and go to her quiet place. She made our home a place where I wanted to be and then lived vulnerably and showed me how to live dependent on Him. Maybe it really is that simple. (And I need to thank Mum again for living that way!!)

      • Jessie Clemence says:

        Good thoughts! Maybe when we come undone we are really teaching our most important lessons–which is a pretty terrifying realization. 🙁

        I think I’ll pray about that today!

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