The awkwardly-taken photo adorning this post is a picture of my house from the outside after I returned home from a run. As I walked up the street to my home, three valuable insights hit me:
- I am blessed to live in a home.
- I am blessed to have a wife and children who love me and I love them.
- I am blessed to live in a place where my family and I feel safe and we contribute to the safety of others.
The Blessing of Home
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.”¹
In an average year, domestic violence hotlines (just in the United States) receive 7.3 million calls — more than the populations of Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming COMBINED!
There are few things more tragic than domestic violence. That one person (typically, though not exclusively, a man) will commit violent acts against another in their own home is appalling.
Domestic violence is one of the greatest ills in societies around the world. The solution is simply stated:
Greater patience and understanding that come from seeking to understand rather than be understood.
That is, most definitely, far more easier said than done.
It can be done.
Individuals who respond in ways that make others afraid need to learn to stop and challenge themselves. That individual needs to make himself or herself open to understanding the other person or people in the situation.
“The home is the first and most effective place for children to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self-control; the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” — J.E. McCulloch²
The Blessing of Family
“I sustain myself with the love of family.” — Maya Angelou
As of 2017, the divorce rate in the United States was 2.9 per 1,000 population.³
Sadly, there are times when divorce is necessary. However, today, too many people divorce simply because they are not willing to put in the work required to have a successful marriage. Make no mistake, when divorce happens it is the children involved who suffer the most.
A report commissioned by the National Institute of Health indicates that in homes where children go through multiple family structure transition are up to 41% more likely to engage in delinquent behavior than kids who grow up in stable homes.⁴
Wherever possible, parents should work to resolve differences rather than giving up. Our children deserve every chance to grow up in happy, stable homes. When they see a pattern of conflict resolution, they will learn it themselves.
It’s as simple as that.
The Blessing of Community
I love this statement made by Dr. James Emery White:
Too many of us have a brightly illuminated “EXIT” sign over every relationship in our life — where we work, where we live, where we go to church, even in our marriages. As long as we hang that sign over the door of our community life, we won’t do the work of commitment that is needed to experience the community we long for. The secret of the best friendships, the best marriages, the best job situations and churches and neighborhoods, is that they’ve taken down the exit signs. And when there is no exit sign, you can only do one thing: whatever it takes for the relationship to flourish.
I live in a community; a place where neighbors come together to have a good time and help each other. It’s a place where the gossip channel doesn’t run 24/7. I’m fortunate to live in a place where each of us has good friends living on either side of us.
Everyone deserves to live in a place where they feel safe, welcome, and wanted. Much of society doesn’t behave that way anymore. This can only be achieved when everyone in the community puts the needs of others above their own self-interests.
Far too many people in the world don’t have these blessings. Far too many who have them don’t appreciate them. For just a few minutes longer than normal, give your partner your undivided attention. Today, hug your children for just a little bit longer. Go out of your way to say hello to a neighbor you see on the street as you drive by. You’ll be surprised at the change that happens in you.
Be the blessing to others that you want for yourself.
¹ National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, https://ncadv.org/statistics
² J.E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization, 1924, p. 42
³ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, QuickStats, Marriage and Divorce, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm
⁴ Family Instability and Child Well-Being https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3171291/