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Family – the Best Environment for Acquiring Religious and Cultural Values

Family – basic and unchangeable educational community - we concern to be an environment providing the best conditions for religious and cultural value acquiring that helps the man in creating own identity. Without love streaming to the gift of life it is hard to talk about the future of a society. And this is the fact that is hardly to be adopted by many families. The lack of religious and cultural values causes that families withdraw their real direction, and also they fall into decay, there are people who find themselves unhappy and empty.

The real direction of an educational work of the family is also endeavor and care about creating a peaceful future. Parents should bring home respect for every person and for great values of peace to their children. Regarding the topic John Paul II. has declared the following at XXVII World Day of Peace in 1994: „Family virtues dealing with deep respect for life and human being dignity that are visible in concrete situations such as patience, understanding, moral support and mutual forgiveness allow the family to live the first and basic experience of peace. Love of such kind is not only a temporal feeling but a lasting moral power, searching for the goodness of the fellowman and is carried out also at the cost of self-sacrifice. Apart from this real love is always connected with justice, which is a fundamental condition of peace. It covers all the people not having a family, children deprived of care and love, people being lonely and rejected. Family which (also having difficulties) lives this kind of love and is large-heartedly open to the whole community is the most important factor of the future peace. Civilization of peace is not possible if love will be missing there".

In today’s world family also strives with many problems. „Unfortunately, in spite of the very first peace creating function many times the family suffers from conflicts and abuse, or it also becomes a helpless victim of multiple forms of violence that the contemporary society suffers from. Often stress becomes a part of the relationships between the family members. Many times stress is only a result of difficulties in achieving harmony in family life; when job disallows the couple to spend the time together; also when unemployment and threat of loosing a job forces to a constant fight for living and fills people with worries about uncertain future. Behavior models offered by hedonism and consumerism are being the source of the stress: they force the family members to satisfy own demands only and not to create peaceful and hard working family community. Often quarrels of the parents, unwillingness for procuring the offspring, violence upon immature and leaving them without care – these are sad symptoms of the mess really blocking the peace of the family. And the peace can not be for sure brought back by the thorny decision of separation or divorce, the real plague of the contemporary society" (John Paul II. – XXVII World Day of Peace, 1994). The process of small and middle companies' bankruptcy caused by lasting decline evokes much disturbance in families that find their living devices in job. Young people can not find a stable job enabling them to create a restful future.

Thus it becomes an additional load for parents causing much stress in families. Much alarming fact is that young people often find themselves in a situation which does not allow them to establish own family in a particular time. We can not neglect the fact that if young people are not able to contribute actively to the development of society there comes a great danger of escapism into the world of illusions such as drugs and alcohol. Also violence and malignance of the young finds convenient roots in society living with such problems, both personal and social.

Persons – „whose existence is in danger and underlies certain limits, are ensured by God – friend of life, that their lives are also a good that has been given the meaning and value by His love" (John Paul II., Evangelium Vitae). On the other hand a man who thinks that it is able to assure ones life only and just by gathering material goods lies and deceives himself in fact and thus he looses the life. „Foolish one, this night they are requiring your soul from you; and the things which you have prepared, whose will they be?" (Luke 12: 20). Lure of materialism carried forward by the means of state and nation influences the contemporary family as well. „Poor nations will never resist successfully the lure that comes to them from the rich nations. The rich nations by the means of own success in the field of technology and culture bring the models of acting focused mainly at achieving a temporal happiness. It does not mean however that such acting itself excludes spiritual acting. In such a meaning the human spirit characterized in the contrary way liberates itself from being fixed to things and thus it can more freely focus itself on hallowing and contemplating the Maker. However, the contemporary society not only by its own but mainly because of being extraordinary involved into temporal things may make the access to God more difficult. Developing nations should thus be able to choose out of what they are offered, they should critically revaluate and suppress false goods which could bring decrease of human ideal with them, and thus to accept healthy and useful values in order to develop them together with their own values and in accordance with the nature of own nation." (Paul VI., Populorum Progresio). „Contemporary man strongly lured by false conceptions is newly invited to uncovering and appreciating great goods and great gifts of marriage, family and life in the light of gospel. Nowadays thus much more than anytime else there is a need for strong pointing at basic Christian truths dealing with family so that the contemporaries could understand and appreciate the fundamental plan of the Maker. We should look for the model of the family in God Himself, in the mystery of His trinitary life. Both creation and family have the likeness of God in them. Family here should be understood as a community of people unified in love" (John Paul II., Family – Cradle of Life and Resident Church). The meaning and power of institution of marriage are visible also in changes of the contemporary society and in difficulties accompanying them – they often show the real gravity of the institution by several ways.

The commonly accepted opinions, values and goals are the source of the unifying power in family. It is very important for parents to teach children to be sensitive about the law of values definite in the family. For example, it may be done so by the use of the words: „in our family we help each other...” etc. Venerating common values helps indirectly in mitigating the conflicts in family.

Consigning the cultural heritage to every new generation is being realized in family and thus the family involves new members into norms of collective life and mechanisms of social conformism, into elementary values of human culture. Through becoming a member of the culture it is possible to get into full revival contract with understanding the God, which is Jesus Christ.

author: Milan Jozek, assistant lecturer (2007-01-24)