Harmony Within The Family


ďNothing is more important for the public wealth than to
form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue."
~Benjamin Franklin~

My name is Frank SanGregory and I happen to believe that the family unit is a very important part of our society.
Now, that's really an understatement. So, let me put it another way.
I believe that it is crucial for our society to have a strong and healthy family unit in order to survive.
I believe that to the extent that the family unit is destroyed, to that same extent will our society will be destroyed.
I certainly respect your right to disagree, but ask that you read below.


It seems that one of the most perplexing questions of this society these days is "How do we bring up our kids in the midst of all the problems that we have out there?" And--make no mistake about it, we do have a lot of problems! We've got the drugs, we've got the cars that go at break-neck speeds,and we've got the booze that our children can drink when they get into these cars. We've got teenage suicide and all the teenage pregnancies--happening in good families! So what do we do? How do we bring up our kids in the midst of all this? Some of the experts claim that we say "no" too often to our kids--while others suggest that we donít say "no" often enough. We can go to the library and read what they all have to say. But the problem is, there are so many conflicting opinions. So, what in the world do we do?? Well, I have some ideas for you. Ideas that in my opinion can stop the hurt--ideas that can make life a little less complicated when it comes to raising your children--ideas that could eliminate a lot of stress in the relationship with your children. Actually, they are really not my ideas and they certainly are not new! Theyíve been around a long time. The problem is that too many of us have just sort of forgotten about them. These are the ideas that I want to share with you. Again, you may agree with what I have to say, or you may disagree. If you disagree, that's OK. I certainly respect your right to feel the way that you do. I just ask that you give it some deep thought and think about it with an open mind. In addition to food, shelter and clothing, there are four other things that our children desperately need --four other things that so many of them are not getting. Below is a statement of my belief.


Love:

Our children need us to show them that we love them and to tell them that we love them. They need us to put our arms around them and hug them, and to tell them that they are a very important part of our lives. It's important that we communicate this to our children. I believe that it's CRUCIAL that we communicate this message to our children. I'm not just talking to the mothers, I'm talking to the fathers as well. I know--I've worked around men and I've heard all the tough talk--things like "Well--we men don't show that kind of emotion--that's for their mother to do." If that's the way any of you men feel, then you are totally wrong. Gentlemen, your kids need you to put your arms around them and hug them just as much as they need it from their mother. Do you ever notice when you watch a professional foot ball game how they act when they make a touch-down. All these big burley men go around hugging each other. That's OK if that's what they want to do. But, I wonder how many of these big burley men can go home and hug their own children. You see--drugs are not the problem. Alcohol is not the problem. They are only symptoms of the real problem. The problem in the majority of cases is that children feel unloved--unwanted. Please be assured that I'm not just making that up. I've heard too many people who work with problem children say the same thing. Now, is that the case in every situation where there are problems? Certainly not. There are exception to every rule. But in the majority of cases, that is the problem. So think about that.

Attention:

Weíve got to give them our attention. Weíve got to spend some time with our children. I know, weíre all too busy. Weíve got to work and make a living. I understand that--I also had to work to support a family. But, let me put it this way because itís so important: If you donít have time to spend with your children, then itís crucial that you that you make some changes so that you do have time. Someone once said,"If you haven't time to help youngsters find the right way in life, somebody with more time will help them find the wrong way." Since I donít know youíre particular situation, I canít tell you how you should go about it. And I know there are situations where it can be very difficult. So Iím not putting anyone down whose job situation is such that itís almost impossible. OK? But I think it would be a good idea to sit down and give it some serious thought--maybe you could come up with something. Look at your schedule to see where you can fit your children in. Somehow you have to come up with something because your children need you.

Guidelines:

Weíve got to set guidelines for them. You see--our kids have got to know when they are in bounds and when they are out of bounds. And donít we all? Contrary to what they may be telling you, they are screaming for guidelines. If anyone finds that hard to believe, go to the library and get one of Dr. Benjamin Spock's latest books.Yes, I know--I said his latest books since they, in my opinion, give a different message than his earlier books did. Or read Dr. James Dobsonís book, Dare To Discipline. See what they have to say about it. And Iím old fashioned enough to believe that itís OK to tell our kids that certain things are just morally wrong--period. Now I know that I might get a little flack on that. I know what some of the "new age" thinking is on that. Some are saying that we should leave that up to the kids; that we should let them figure out that sort of thing for themselves. Well--all I can say to that is to take a look around--take a good look. See whatís going on in our schools. See whatís going on outside of our schools. Do you think that they have it all figured out???
Some time ago I was going through the channels on the TV and I got the tail-end of a program that I wished I would have watched from the beginning. It was called, On Values, by Peggy Noonan. I would like to share with you some of the things that were said by the person that she was interviewing. These are not his exact words since I didnít write it down as he was talking. But, basically this is what he said. "The buzz-word these days is individual freedom. The problem is that when we have too much freedom, we sometimes choose over-indulgence instead of self control. Now, of course, our freedom should be cherished and we should be thankful that we have it. But, freedom without responsibility will destroy or society." He went on to say, "Itís too bad these days when one speaks in public, he/she must be careful as to what he says. That is, words like morality, like responsibility; words like self control--we must be very careful where we use these words these days. And isnít it a shame because these are good words. Our society will be better when those who speak in public have the courage to use these "out-dated" words. In America today we have over one million people in prison. It seems that the number has increased when we stopped using these words." It certainly give us something to think about doesnít it?
Dr. Benjamin Spock, who in his time was one of the leading authorities on raising children, says in one of his books, "Child Psychology cannot substitute for morality." Remember, this is not one of our religious leaders saying this. It is a child psychologist. An excellent book on this subject is Dr. James Dobsonís The New Dare To Discipline. One important fact to remember about setting guidelines is this: If we say one thing to our children, but do another , then our actions will speak so loud that they will not hear one word we say! You know what I mean.

Adult Role-Model:

We've got to set guidelines for our children and they need a good adult role-model. Let me say that again, a good role model! Someone they can look up to; someone they can admire. A hero! Thatís what they need! And Iíll guarantee you one thing--your kids are going to find a hero. Guaranteed! Just as sure as you breathe--just as sure as the law of gravity. You know--if you get on top of a building and jump, you will always go down--you will never go up. Thatís the law of gravity. You can depend on it. And just as sure as that law of gravity, your kids are going to find a hero. They are either going to find it in you, or they will find it in someone else. The problem is--if they find it in someone else, you donít know who that might be. Thereís a good chance that they may find it in someone who is not good for them. Now, you donít have to take my word for that. Turn on your TV and grab hold of the remote. Start going through the channels--take a look--take a good look at who some of these heroes are! Is this what you want for your kids?? Or would you--yourself--rather be their hero. You can be if you really want to.
So, how do we become their hero? Now, thatís a good question isnít it? And I really canít give you a definite answer to that question since every person has a different personality. Besides, you may already know the answer for your own particular situation. If you donít know the answer, Iím going to suggest a way to find out. What I think that all of us should do once in a while is to get off by ourselves--some place where itís quite and where we can be alone. Maybe down along the river--in the woods--someplace by a quiet stream. Any place where we can be by ourselves. And then we remove our mask--we all have one, we lay aside the role that we play in society. We then ask our self some serious questions about our relationship with our children--our relationship with our spouse--our relationship with the world. And then by being brutally honest with ourselves, we see what kind of answers we come up with. And then we do our best to start living by those answers. Someone once said that the solutions to all of our problems are within us. Oliver Windell Holmes said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
If someone were to say to me, "Frank, when you die" and I will some day. Some day weíre all going to shed this cocoon. But if someone said to me, "Frank, when you die, if there were one message that you could leave to the world, what would it be?" Iíd say--Love your children, give them your attention, set good guidelines for them and for goodness sake, be their hero!
Victor Frankl said it best in his book, Manís Search For Meaning. Viktor Frankl was a survivor of one of the Nazi concentration camps. And, of course, none of us can imagine the agony, the horror and the indignities and suffering that he and others like him went through. But in the mist of all this, in his book he says, "And suddenly a thought transfixed me; for the first time in my life I saw the truth as set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth--that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love."
In his book, Healing Words, Dr. Larry Dossey says, "If scientists suddenly discovered a drug that was as powerful as love in creating health, it would be heralded as a medical break-through and marketed overnight." Exaggerated statement??    I think not. Think about it. You know--what I have always thought was that if we in this world donít feel like showing love and compassion to one another, then if at least we didnít go out of our way to treat each other so nasty, it sure would be a remarkable improvement. I agree with Dr. Dossey. I donít think that he makes an exaggerated statement. So, thatís where itís all at. That is what will produce peace, and harmony in our family. That is what will produce peace and harmony in our world. Not our stockpile of weapons. Not our advance in military technology--although Iím not suggesting that we go back to the bow and arrow. But kindness and compassion and respect for each other. That will work. And besides, isnít that the way that we human beings ought to treat each other anyway?? And how do you and I accomplish this task in our world?? We do it by starting it right in our own families. A tall order?? Too much to ask?? Well, as someone once said, "Itís better to light a tiny little candle than to curse the darkness."

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