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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Miracle of Family

We live in Bridgman, Michigan, where people come to vacation during summer months. Beautiful Lake Michigan and its fabulous beaches, the surrounding agricultural bounties and the beautiful Southwest Michigan scenery call out to people from throughout the Midwest and beyond, to come and enjoy our delightful offerings. Years ago when our granddaughter Rebekah was a pre-teen, she expressed it well on a visit from central Indiana.

She said, “This is a place people come to!” Another way of saying Southwest Michigan is a destination for people who seek a fun place to spend a vacation.

Most of those who come are families and it is one reason I enjoy living here. I like to see families interact on vacation—playing together and having fun, and see parents share important life truths with their offspring in that joyful process.

A good example happened recently in a public bathroom. The boy was about four years old and I found it interesting to see his Dad re-emphasizing what had obviously already been taught about washing hands and being polite to others who shared the public facilities. To the boy it was just a fun day with Dad. He had no idea he was learning important lessons that would help him live well for decades—lessons he would someday pass on to his children, thus passing the knowledge from generation to generation.

That is how God planned it. He said we should teach our children throughout the day…

“4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7(NIV), New International Version Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica)

In strong families that function as God planned, every life encounter is a learning opportunity if we take advantage of it. If it is done well, it is so much fun the children don’t think of it as a task. They think it is just the pure joy of living—and they are right.

Sometimes those families are not “normal” families. Recently while on vacation with friends in Mexico we went on a whale-watching expedition. A part of our group of about 25 or 30 people was a vacation family made up of two couples and one single mom and about ten teenage children from all three families. I was intrigued and had already begun this article, so I wanted to find out more about them. When I talked to the single mom, she said none of them were related, but the boys were in sports together and the three families had been friends and schoolmates for several years. They had a special relationship that was fun to watch throughout the morning.

Families are God’s miracle for the survival and advancement of society. No other organization means so much to individual persons or to society as a whole, as the family. When the family is dysfunctional, unless someone else steps in to make up the difference, the children in the family suffer from that dysfunction the rest of their lives. When children grow up in a loving, supportive, educational family, they gain benefits that are immeasurable. Thank God for strong families! Thank God for parents who rise to the occasion to meet the needs of their growing children. And thank God for adults who fill in for children who don’t have functional families, helping them to grow into persons that will bless society for a lifetime.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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