Sunday, January 13, 2013

Families Are the Moral Compass of the Nation

Blame gets pointed in many directions for the shortcomings of our nation. Violent video games are rotting our children’s brains. Guns and grenade launchers need to be regulated out the hands of all criminals who would use them illegally. The mentally ill need to be cataloged and tracked to keep them from committing violent acts.

Once legitimate ideas soon spin out of control, becoming the twisted ridiculous rhetoric of political jockeys.

Really, if we sit back and look at the state of our country many of the problems come back to the same thing. The moral compass of society is off. You might say our due north is pointing a little crooked.

During the presidential election this year a dear friend of mine engaged in one of the many political polls that phoned her home. When asked what she thought the biggest issue of the election was, she hesitated. There were many topics she could have chosen, the economy and jobs were at the front of everyone’s minds, gas prices were soaring and our troops in Afghanistan were a daily concern.

Her answer of moral issues shocked the surveyor. I don’t think they had a check box for that on the questionnaire.

The explanation was really amazing. Without a simple backbone of moral stability how would the United States survive? Like the building blocks of a child learning to read, the nation must first remember its simple core values before it can begin to solve the larger issues at hand.

The keystone to values has been under attack for decades. The family is the strongest support for a true north on our moral compass.

I don’t speak of one individual family, but rather the concept of family as a whole. A broken home is not the cause of one shoot out, rampage or bank heist. It takes time for a society to break down.

The high cost of living has pushed both parents into the workforce for most families and the children into some kind of childcare. Demands for what our children must have to become competitive in the world overload our evenings with a multitude of scheduled activities. Electronic gadgets keep us tied to our work 24-hours a day and often segregate family members that are home together.

Gone are the days of sit down dinners seven days a week and discussing how everyone’s day was. Some families are lucky to all be under the same roof by nine o’clock at night.

Having less and less family influence and teachings has lowered the standards for what is considered acceptable. In turn movies and television have become increasingly disturbing. The pattern becomes set.

In the last year women have come into particular attack of this cycle. Movies about male strippers and erotic novels were some of the most touted entertainment of 2012. Chisel away at the standards of the wives and mothers one chip at a time and you break down the backbone of the family.

In 2013 I’m resolving to put my family first. It’s time for less over-scheduling and more family home evenings.

Instead of video game nights or crime investigation marathons, we could benefit from conversation and teaching moments.

It is impossible to lock down or eliminate everything we fear or dislike about this world. What is possible is changing the acceptance of those things.

I can’t change the values of an entire nation, but I can make my family strong. Maybe it’s time we over run this country with strong families and find a true north on that moral compass for the United States.

What direction is your family headed?

1 comment:

  1. Our bishop invited our ward to do a “Fast from the World” for the month of January. It means no television, movies, video games, radio, facebook, Pinterest, texting for entertainment, etc. Our family decided to participate and it has been amazing- so needed and SO worth it. I thought it would be much harder than it’s actually been. After the first couple of days the kids weren’t even thinking about TV anymore. We spend our evenings cooking, playing board games, doing crafts, reading books together as a family, and just having fun.

    Personally, I knew I had some bad habits with regard to facebook and Pinterest and overuse of e-mail, but I was unaware of the way the spirit of the world was chipping away at our family culture. It’s not like we sit around playing violent video games or watch R-rated movies or have the TV on 24/7- the kids watch the Disney Channel after school, my husband and I watch some favorite shows in the evenings, and he and I both love to surf the net to wind down. But we were allowing things of lesser importance to overshadow- and thus detract from- the things that are most important: our family relationships, our relationships with God, our church callings, and our talents.

    Since starting this “fast”, I have felt closer to my family and closer to God than ever before. I go to sleep with words of scriptures and the prophets echoing through my mind and wake up with hymns stuck in my head. Everyone is more patient with one another, the things we learn (because we seem to be learning constantly now) have space and time to settle into our minds and hearts, because there is so much more peace surrounding us.

    I think you are absolutely right (and I thank you for having a blog that falls within the guidelines of our “fast from the world”). :-) I think we too often get stuck in a rut and just keep plugging along without thinking what effect it’s having on our family culture.