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The power and necessity of the nuclear family

family, children, parents
Unsplash/Irina Murza

The family is the answer to the vast majority of our social ills. God ordained the home to be the place where hearts and hands were fashioned. God puts a premium on the home. It was the first institution ordained by God, and when it comes to shaping human lives, it is where the action happens.

The rescue of the next generation might seem overwhelming, but it is as simple as a return to the home, to relationships, and to loving mothers and fathers and the powerful impartation that loving families naturally produce in the young.

I’ve always been moved by something I read in the words of Abraham Lincoln. He once said, “All that I am or hope ever to be I get from my mother, God bless her.”

This may not sound that unusual. Many great men and women credit their mothers as the inspiration for what they achieved.

Yet Lincoln’s mother, Nancy, died when young Abraham was only 9 years old. Lincoln would not begin showing himself an exceptional man until nearly twenty years later. Apparently, in those first ten years, Nancy Lincoln had such an impact on her son that he credited her with all that he achieved.

Though Nancy was poor and lacked formal education, she loved her boy, narrated the world to him, taught him Bible verses she had memorized, and was always present as her sensitive, gifted, unusual son rose to early manhood. She helped shape a man who eventually would go on to shape a nation. She did this all in less than a decade. This is the power of the family. This is what parents can do, even in the most challenged families, when they simply care and give themselves to their children.

Nancy Lincoln’s kind of impact seems hard to achieve in our day. It isn’t but the distractions of life and the false values of our age get in the way. I’ve always thought that the most blessed man in the world is the one who has little noses pressed against the windowpane waiting for him to come home. This is how I grew up. Perhaps you did too. Nothing thrilled me like those powerful words, “Dad’s home!”

Thankfully, I have felt what it is like to have a little one nearly dancing around the house at the thrill of me coming home. It is a transforming experience. When my son, Zach, was only two or three years old, I returned home one evening to find my little guy running full speed toward me. I mean, he was running wide open! When he got to me, he stopped and gleefully shouted, “Dad!” Then he looked down at my shoes and said, “Shoes off!” This moved me because I realized that he was saying, “Dad, come here with me. Be with me.”

I don’t think I’m taking it too far to say that the main way we rescue the next generation is to answer this heart cry of our children. “Dad. Mom. Be with me. Come here with me.” It is the answer, truly, not only for our children but also for our nation.

So when I issue a call for warrior moms and dads, I’m not necessarily asking people to storm out into the streets and start raising a cry for the next generation. This may be necessary at times, but I’m mainly calling for parents and other adults who will be like those older arrows—strong, straight, seasoned, and willing to bind themselves to the young to protect them and to help them become what they are meant to be. I am calling for a warrior adult generation who understands the times and knows how to protect the next generation from the ills of our day.

Dr. Tim Clinton is the author of the new book, “Focus on the Future: Your Family, Your Faith, and Your Voice Matter Now More Than Ever” (to be released Oct. 5, 2021). Dr. Tim Clinton, EdD, LPC, LMFT, is president of AACC, the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. Dr. Clinton also serves as the Executive Director of the Liberty University Global Center for Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery, and co-host of “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk,” heard on nearly 1400 radio outlets daily. Licensed as a Professional Counselor and as a Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Clinton is recognized as a world leader in mental health and relationship issues and spends much of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He has authored or edited nearly 30 books. Dr. Clinton and his wife, Julie, have two children, and a granddaughter.

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