• Brett Birdsong

Strengthening Family Bonds

We are living in a day and age when there is more that threatens the well-being of our families than ever before. While some of the greatest and most enjoyable experiences in life happen in the context of family, some of the greatest challenges and heartaches do as well, creating a pressure that threatens to divide us if we’re not careful. These challenges may come in the form of financial hardship, a wayward child, struggles in our marriage, someone in our family being stricken with disease, or any other number of things. They can all be very challenging things to face, and they create a pressure upon our family that has the potential to wreak havoc.

Whenever we face these types of challenges within our family, it’s important to have an attitude that says, “We are in this together”, and not allow them to divide us. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus said, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” He may very well have had these types of things in mind when He said those words. He was well aware of the pressures that can come upon our families, and that these pressures threaten to bring division, but He said these words to remind us of the value and necessity of unity within our families. Unity provides a strength that allows us to stand up under any pressures we may face, and when that unity grows and becomes stronger, we actually become stronger as a family. If a house divided against itself cannot stand, then a house united can stand and persevere through anything.

In partnership with other community leaders and parents in Mukilteo, I recently started a community outreach called True North Families. Our purpose is to offer hope and direction to families during the tough teen years, and to come alongside parents who may have teenage children who are facing difficult things like drug addiction, depression, self-harm, etc. These are real problems facing many families right here in Mukilteo, and it may not be comfortable to admit it, but it’s reality. Even if we do acknowledge it, too often we don’t want anyone to know that we are facing these problems personally. However, turning the tide will never happen by ignoring the problems we face, or pretending they don’t exist. It happens first by acknowledging that there is no such thing as the perfect community or the perfect family, that none of us are immune to our share of problems, and that we could benefit from the help and support of others. It’s also in understanding that there is no shame in that. In fact, if truth be known, there are probably more families dealing with these types of problems that we are even aware of. It’s just hard for many families to admit it, to themselves or to others. When we as parents, and as a community, acknowledge that we’ve got problems, decide that we are going to face our problems together, and commit to do things that will help strengthen the family bonds, unity and strength will increase. Our problems may not go away over night, but we’ll be better equipped to face them together as a family, and as a community. For more information on True North Families you can check us out at www.facebook.com/truenorthfamilies.

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