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From: Families under pressure – Footsteps 55

Practical ideas for supporting strong and healthy families

Today families are under so many different pressures. However there are many ways in which families can develop good relationships and provide a stable base, not just for family members but for others around them. Here are some ideas for strengthening family life:

Wise leadership
The Bible describes the ideal parent as a leader, protector, spiritual guide and motivator. We need parents to act as role models for their children. Leadership in a family cannot be rigid and fixed – it must adjust to changing circumstances.   

Showing affection
A family must generate and give love in ways which show affection. This recognition can be through touch, a look, a smile or an encouraging comment. A stable family gives and shows love and appreciation for those who belong to it.   

Valuable rituals
For Christians, these can include showing faith through prayer before eating, reading the Bible and praying, or a particular activity on a special day. Every family must establish its own rituals. Though the particular learning gained through these rituals may be forgotten over time, the rituals themselves will continue with new lessons.  

Accept and love members who are different
These people add variety and spice to life. They may be people with good attitudes who are loyal and serve the family. Taking care of them develops a certain solidarity and a sense of caring interest in this valuable member of the family unit.  

Record and share family history
Any family get-together can be a time for joyfully remembering the past or sharing present experiences. Every family needs a person who loves to collect family souvenirs and reminders, such as photos, diplomas, letters or cards. If the history is written down it becomes a valuable legacy for the next generation.  

Show hospitality
Be open to receiving and inviting people from outside your family. Large families may find this easier to practise than small families. Use hospitality as a way of influencing and showing love and concern towards others. In the process the family will be strengthened.

Build a divine foundation
When the family has a strong foundation, it can overcome many threats. For many Christians, a foundation of faith is extremely important for building a stable family.  

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