Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Recently I have been reminded about how much I love to learn about families. This often presents itself in books that I read, and movies or TV shows that I watch. Joel has learned that if the movie is about a family, there is a pretty good chance that I will like it. Some recent examples of this are Little Miss Sunshine and Lars and the Real Girl.

I am not exactly sure the reason for this intrigue of mine, but it is not a recent thing. In college one of my degrees was actually in Family Ministries. Essentially asking the question, how can we better minister to families in our churches and communities? Every psychology or sociology class that I took often times had a large part of it that talked about families. Because inevitably whether you want to admit it or not, you come from a family and most or the time your family plays a huge role in who you are which is often both good and bad.

This weekend I read Karen Kingsbury's final book in a fifteen book series about one family. I have been reading these books for years and they have always touched my heart. Maybe it is because this fictional family does not seem fictional to me. They experienced what every family I know has experienced, tragedy and pain. These characters went through, death, divorce, betrayal, sin and in the end redemption.

I also watched the season premiere this weekend of ABC's show Brothers and Sisters. I have not been watching this show from its first night on TV, but I started watching it last fall when I spent a month with out a job and in a state where I knew very few people and I deeply missed my family. This show is crazy at times, maybe a little too crazy. And obviously there is some serious dysfunction in this family, but who has a family that does not have some level of dysfunction? Part of me feels like my family is pretty normal after I watch this show. There was one character in this past episode that said "There is no one who knows which ribs to stab you between better than the people that are the closest to you and love you the most." How true that is.

In Youth Ministry, Joel and I have found that family dynamics play a huge role in our ministry. Students show up on a Wednesday night or a Sunday morning and they may be unable to sit and listen, are flat out disrespectful or seem distracted and far away . We have those kids who come and just look sad all the time. The sad part is that behind these different behaviors is the reality that these kids have some pretty crazy families. We would estimate that well over half of our students come from broken homes and probably a half of those are now blended families. We have students that literally spend every other week at a different parents house with two different wardrobes. Girls who are now living with their mother and the mothers boyfriend whom they don't know, how awkward for a Junior High girl. Or students that have so many different sets of parents and siblings that when you ask them about their family they have no idea where to start.

Families. They often times shape who we are and how we may choose to or choose not to raise our own children. They affect our ministry with others, in our churches and communities.

What do you notice about families today?


  1. I LOVED Lars and the Real Girl! Have you other seen "The Other Sister"........check it out - it is one of my all time favorite films (great story about how a family deals with special needs, etc)

  2. Well said.
    I am also fascinated with family dynamics. I was a Sociology major and I am always watching how families interact with each other.
    The thing I always look for is the relationship between fathers and daughters. It's such and important relationship.

    I have heard a stat that kids on average have less than 15 minutes a week of "quality" conversations with their parents.

  3. i'm so glad someone else watches brothers & sisters...i love that show!!! i think the draw of that show is that through all the dysfunction, that family is truly connected to one another.

    even the small family of 2 that we have right now...i find that quality time is hard to achieve with all the busy-ness of every day. i've realized that in order to stay connected, we have to be very diligent about spending time talking with one another...do it on purpose...i can see where this is a huge issue in the families of today, which leaves a lot of disconnect between the members. after a long and stressful day, it's just too easy to get into the habit of flipping on the tv over dinner-letting your mind go numb, then going to bed...never really having said many words to each other.