What? No Family?
15 January 2019
Where would we be without family?
Christmas and summer holidays in New Zealand are often all about getting together as families, nuclear or extended, and catching up on time apart and just enjoying doing stuff together.
My wife and I just spent a week in Paihia doing just that. Immediate and extended family, son, daughter, grandchildren, and in-laws and cousins on the US daughter in-law’s side. Family. Some we had not met before, but the sense of belonging, the security of acceptance, the joy of open relationships, and the trust in and the respect for one another, made for a most enjoyable week.
Our community was diverse. Ethnicity, beliefs, gender, age, personalities, interests, gifts. But love prevailed. Love by choice, not by feeling. Love in its purity, respecting and believing in one another and wanting the best for each other.
Is this family unique? Are we weird? I believe not. Many families enjoy times like this. And this is the glue that holds communities and nations together. We’ve heard it before. “Strong Families build Strong Nations.” It happens by choice, not by chance.
The government has a major role to play in protecting, supporting and strengthening families. It can’t legislate strong families, but it could reward strong families. And it could show more support to NGOs focused on seeing marriages and parenting skills enriched and improved. It could encourage healthy relationships in schools, championing the benefits of long term monogamous relationships. Benefits for those involved, their children and their grandchildren, and for the nation.
Currently, it seems, apart from universal family assistance for raising children, all other government support for families is focused on those that are already broken. We should do more to keep families from living close to the edge of the cliff, where they are in danger of slipping off. Why live by the safety rail when there is a fruitful and rich tableland to be explored and enjoyed?
It takes choice, and government should do all it can to incentivise and reward good and fruitful choices that build strong families.
Kevin Stitt, Party Secretary