By Marci Nelson
I get it. You want to help, but you don’t think you can make much of a difference. You’re a college student, a mother, a father, a grandparent. You don’t have the money, the resources, or the time to get involved.
We avoid watching the news because it makes us sad. We rarely talk about politics because it usually leads to heated discussions that never amount to anything productive. We just hope and pray that someone else has the drive to defend the most fundamental unit of society.
It is imperative that we get involved. This isn’t as challenging as you might think. I am not suggesting that we all attend prestigious pro-life rallies, or write a viral blog post, or even write a letter to your representative regarding policies that affect the traditional family as we know it. Although, considering all of these things are relatively low-key and would cost us no more than a couple hours of our time.
Instead, I propose that the best thing we can do to defend the family starts at home. Mother Teresa once said, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”
Is it really that simple? According to the Sutherland Institute, “Answers to our problems shouldn’t come from a towering body of legislators; rather, they should originate from individuals who quietly and persistently promote change within their own communities. When we engage all voices, community-driven solutions propel our nation forward.”
Problem-solving is best achieved from the bottom, working up! This is not a job just for a select few, who happen to be really excellent public speakers or people with a Harvard Law degree. This is a job for every day, regular citizens. You can defend the family in your everyday interactions with the gifts and talents that YOU possess.
So how? How can we, as ordinary people, make extraordinary strides in defending the family? How can we promote ideals such as traditional marriage, children, religious freedom, parental rights, family dinners, sanctity of life, liberty, education, and healthy sexuality and gender identity?
The first answer to that question is to live it. Teach your children, through your example, that marriage between a man and a woman is what is best for our society. In his book “Life Without Father”, David Popenoe states “We should disavow the notion that ‘mommies can make good daddies,’ just as we should disavow the popular notion…that ‘daddies can make good mommies.’… The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary—culturally and biologically—for the optimal development of a human being.” Owning our gender differences, and their complimentary characteristics, will teach our children of their intrinsic value and will strengthen our families.
Secondly, I believe the world needs to grow in empathy. The society we live in is seemingly divided, or at least that is how the media wants us to believe. According to the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy, “[Empathy] reduces stress and fosters resilience, trust, healing, personal growth, creativity, learning and nourishing connection. Empathy also transforms conflict, and supports sustainable collaborative action and positive social change.” Would we not solve a lot more of society’s problems if we just practiced a little more understanding for each other? The discussions would be less about who is right and more about what is right! Human beings are really not all that different from each other. I truly believe with all my heart that everybody wants what is best for our society, our culture, and our planet. In the words of Anne Frank, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Let empathy guide our thoughts and our actions, so that we can all stand united in a cause that is good.
It doesn’t take a PhD, a government official, or a celebrity endorsement to make a difference. The positive changes that we desire and deserve will take place only if responsible citizens do their part to fight for the causes of faith, family, and freedom.