Protecting our families is not just about high walls, bars, and a baseball bat by the bedside. We need to protect our families not just from outside threats, but inside threats. China built a large wall across its border to stop people invading. It is called, the Great Wall of China, and it’s massive (8,850 km long today passing 156 counties; originally 21,196km long) In all its time this wall has never been crossed, brought down or destroyed. There was no need, because on the three occasions that China was invaded, the enemy just went through the mail gate on the wall itself and the army was in. How? They bribed the Chinese guards on the wall. Our families are not so much in danger from an enemy getting through our walls; it’s the enemies and dangers that come straight through our front door. Sometimes these aren’t people, these are attitudes and behaviours that our family picks up out in the world, bring home and slowly infect the whole future of the family. Protecting our families is often about protecting them from themselves, and putting discipline in how we think, how we love each other and how we behave.
Learning how to spot abusive behavior has to happen very early on. It cannot happen unless as men and women, we are absolutely committed to changing our behavior too. One of the most destructive elements of the family, particularly paramount in Africa, is the absolute necessity that there is a leader, a head of the household, someone who deserves to be served by everyone else. If we are to protect our families, we have to become a team, that works together, and stamp out the pride and selfishness that is so destructive by truly loving and serving each other. If one member says, “I am the head of this house and you will a,b,c…” it creates a chasm of distance between that person and everyone else. And the chasm just grows over time. In families there needs to be someone who makes final decisions if no one can agree, but that should be rare. As a family we learn to lean on each other’s strengths, to cheer each other on in the race, and to make sure that we never let pride take hold of us or our members. Pride is the most destructive force in our families, and it comes walking in through the front door every day. And whether we see it or not, it lies at the end of the bed, even in our beds, and the more we ignore it the bigger it gets.
Protecting our families means ensuring that we shut and bolt the front door to pride. It means that we are proactive to stamp out pride in our own lives, and to find ways to humbly serve, lead and love our families. Where there is pride, there is no love. They cannot co-exist together. Integrity in loving our families, our spouses and our children means saying sorry, being prepared to do any task we think is “below” us, and being vigilant to fight those attitudes whenever they walk through the front door.
- Protecting our families is about guarding what comes through the front door, not just over the wall.
- Pride is the most dangerous destructive and deathly element in any family.
- Pride has to be squashed with consistent commitment to serving and loving each other always.
- A family that thrives is a family that stays emotionally close together, and does not let anyone’s pride create a chasm between the others.
- A successful family is one that really works together, in good times and bad, with love and dedication, and makes sure they guard against the attitudes and behaviors that come through the front door that can be so damaging.