Yesterday Tayla looked at me
and asked me, “When will Mike, Harold and John visit us again?”

This is something that
amazes me of our daughter.  Once
you’ve slept in our house she won’t forget you.  Months after people visited she will still talk about them
and occasionally mention them in prayers.

I love the fact that our
children grow up in a house that is open to other people.  Liam and Tayla know that they are loved by
me and Lollie and this foundational space creates opportunities for them to
create other relationships too. In short, they are soaked with love within our
family but they’re not drowning in that love.  Let me explain.

A family that focuses on
themselves can easily become a cul-de-sac.  Individualism and the consumer narrative produce families that
form comfortable spaces for themselves. 
These spaces can become an end in itself.  

That is why Jesus’
redefinition of family is so exciting. 
It creates new social networks that break out of the cul-de-sac.  A family can be like a river with
flowing water or like a dam(n) with stagnant water.  The river gives life, the dam(n) become a potential site for
drowning.

A few months ago I read some
profound words from Kurt Vonnegut,

“When a couple has an
argument nowadays, they may think it’s about money or power or sex or how to
raise the kids or whatever.  What
they’re really saying to each other, though without realizing it, is this: “You
are not enough people!”  A husband,
a wife and some kids is not a family. 
It’s a terribly vulnerable survival unit.”
[1]

River He makes this comment in the
context of the loss of extended families in modern societies and how extended
families created “enough people”. He notes that,

“It used to be that when a
man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk about
everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to.”

Stereo-types aside, I think
he has a profound point.  This, I
think, is why parents have a huge responsibility to make sure that their family
have “enough people”.  A river or a
damn?  PS> I find Vonnegut’s use
of the verb “is” in “is not a family” very clever …  

 


[1] A man
without a country, p.48 Kurt Vonnegut