As I think about the family values within the black community I am saddened by our combined failure to promote and encourage a healthy home life. The facts don’t lie. 7 out of every 10 black children are born in a single parent household. More families are getting divorced. Many singles are suffering from anxiety because they fear commitment and the idea of having to endure a toxic relationship.
Studies suggest that many African-American men do not think marriage will bring them happiness. There are a lot of people who have never seen a black family with good family values, except when they watched the Cosby Show.
Obviously the African-American community is still suffering from the effects of slavery. Slavery created barriers for families. From the sexual exploitation of young women, the segregation of genders, the economical impoverishment, mental oppression, etc.
A recent article writes, “Sexual predation against black women and violence against black men would appear to idealize what once dehumanized them.”
Now post-slavery, the African-American family still struggles to raise up men to be fathers; and many are taught to be lovers as they model after the behavior of their forefathers. And, many women are taught to be mothers and driven entrepreneurs, but not wives.
A family with good values is like an athlete that has good flexibility. Flexibility makes an athlete stronger and better.
You can’t determine if an athlete has good flexibility by looking at them, but you can tell when you see their performance. Just like you can’t determine a family’s values by their pictures on social media or if they publish a book on relationships, but you can tell by their ability to stay together and love each other.
The more flexible an athlete is the less prone they are to injury. Problems come to us all. No family is void of problems and frustrations. Nevertheless, a family with good values are loyal to one another. Their relationships are built upon the strong foundation of loving each other, respecting one another, spending quality time together, open communication, not taking advantage of one another, forgiving each other, etc. and they understand their family’s purpose ultimately supersedes their individual feelings.
What Does A Family With Good Values Look Like?
- Accept and Tolerate – Everyone in the family is accepted regardless of what they do or what they bring to the table. Each family member is accepted because of who they are.
- Identity and Respect – Each family member identifies themselves with each other. They have a sense of pride in who they are, while understanding their interdependence within their family. They respect and honor the elders in their family.
- Love and Support – People with a family mentality enjoy community. They love and support one another. They uplift and honor one another. Family members lay down their life for one another. They are selfless instead of selfish. People with this mentality are givers and live life with purpose. They want a family because they want to give and create a better life for the next generation.
- Share and Serve – In every thriving community there is an understood universal need to serve one another. Each family member is free to pursue and refine their unique talents, and also obligated share their gifts with others.
So many of us in the black community have an orphan mentality. For whatever reason, we oftentimes feel separated from the rest of our family and community. I have felt this way. Orphans have feelings of loneliness. Orphans feel independent of others. Orphans receive validation based upon their achievements and performance. Orphans are insecure as they know they’re different.
Many of us were raised in broken homes. Black men have been disrespected in and outside their own homes. Black women have been abused; some have lived their entire life without feeling truly loved or safe in their own homes.
God gives us a biological family, but He also gives us a spiritual family. Jesus said in Luke 8:21 – “My mother and My brothers are these who listen to the word of God and do it!”
No family is perfect. Any family can be messy, disappointing, confusing, frustrating, etc.. This is a fact. But, with wisdom, trust, patience, mercy, and grace, we can create new family values for the next generation.