The social and economical contribution of the Family, combating poverty and crime.
The family is the building block for the society. Healthy families are the foundation for a healthy society.
1) The Contribution of the family to Human security and stability
In the assembly hall of the UN security council you can see a mural, depicting at the center a nuclear family, Man & Woman, child. This illustrates well that at the heart of human security and stability is a harmonious, stable family. Harmonious societies are built on harmonious stable families. As a result of family breakdown, there are many serious troubles in society, that can be seen as a threat to human security and societal order.
For example, in the recent riots in London, we could see the social and economical cost that kids coming from broken, unstable families would cause towards the society and community. The absence of an intact family structure, is most damaging to growing children. Neglect and lack of care is causing a great deal of confusion, becoming visible disorder even violence to the streets of London.
Governments and authorities, realized that the cost of family breakdown, causing foremost a social chaos, is enormous. The ongoing efforts of advocating pro family policies, by which families can be more empowered, so far doesn’t seem to catch the attention of many governments. It was then a wake-up call for many, when rioting youths were moving through the streets, torching and looting everything that was in their way. The local police was totally overwhelmed and realized too late the dimension of the riots.
2) Education in the family – learning the basic patterns for human behaviour
Family is crucially important: it is first of all the school for learning the basic principles of human behaviour. If we aim at combating crime there is the element of crime- prevention that education in the family can deliver. (Of course only if the family can provide a real loving environment and healthy relationships!)
At the first we have to mention the key educational function of the family, in relation to raising children, future generations of citizens of our society and civilization:
i) Education of heart. Lived values education. True Love, trust, care for others,
ii) Education of norms. Values, behaviours, responsibility, ownership and accountability.
Based on the 2 major parts of education in the family, the social fabric of society is strengthened and a peaceful and orderly society can come about and be sustained.
3) In the Family - the 4 realms of Heart and Love are being taught in a natural way.
Education of heart aims at teaching children how to be able to love. It means learning to love on 4 different levels. First as children; on that level, we are definitely on the receiving end, we fundamentally learn to receive love from a parents, a Father and a Mother,
different in nature but very complementary in substance. A child is embedded in his parents love and in this state children develop the ability to trust and develop confidence in themselves. Being loved is the essential starting point for being able to love. One could state that this level of learning a child’s love is comparable to the elementary level class in the school of Love.
At a second level, children realize the with the emergence of a sibling that parental love can be shared and children can love each other as siblings, being united under the same warm love umbrella coming from their parents. . The awareness of a brother or sister, is very reassuring, sharing responsibility as siblings is much easier than having to be in the lonely position of the unique child Siblings love is like secondary school education in the school of heart and love.
At a third stage in the school of love and heart, young adults are coming to engage in a spousal love which brings together the two universes of masculinity and femininity, reflecting the divine nature of the Creator in a couple relationship of a great profoundness. Two hearts melting into one, making oneself completely vulnerable to another being is a completely new dimension, bringing each individual to the point of going beyond oneself for the sake of the other. Spousal love is compared to the university level in the school of heart and love.
Finally the masterclass or PHD in the school of love, is the realm of parental love, that can go beyond one’s own interest, is totally giving and forgets that it has given. The heart and love of a parent can even out the roughest edges of character. Parents can still love there where neither siblings nor spouses can love and are able to embrace even “enemies”. Love your enemies is a truly parental perspective, as it seeks solely the good of the other.
These four realms of heart and love learnt in the family in a natural way are the basis for good and righteous normative behaviours. Understanding good values and norms are the natural consequence of the a healthy family education. In this sense the contribution of healthy families to the prosperity of all is invaluable. There is no doubt that the contribution of healthy families to a peaceful society and world based on good character and mature behaviours is extremely precious.
4) Empowering families to realize the key role they can play.
Empowered families can contribute greatly to the economical as well as social good of our society through the ability of families to absorb social and economical difficulties. Families can more easily cope with an economical crisis than individuals. The power of unity in the family empowers the individual as well. Governments and authorities must be very serious about appreciating and cherishing the great input of healthy families. Governments empowering healthy families will see results in and not do the opposite.
Like depicted in mural in the hall of the security council of the UN in New York, the contribution of families to stability and order in the society and world is of a very important dimension. Where children are raised in a caring manner, social chaos and injustice do not occur very easily. Our hope for a peaceful world after all is depending on our success in realizing good families.
In closing let me state that if governments realize the important contribution that families can make to the public good, they should make greater efforts in implement more family friendly policies which can ease the financial burden that especially larger families must carry in the modern western societies. Measures in easing the burden, especially in improving living conditions through affordable housing, and a more children save and family friendly environment.
5) Cultivating a spiritual and physical foundation for a Culture of Peace
Families can be the key agents for a good living environment. Therefore state and government should do their utmost to ensure that the environment where families with growing children live can be “child save” and protected from all kinds of misleading and corrupting influences in a moral and ethical sense. Only by ensuring this, can families be the kind of powerhouses that will in return ensure the society in a preventative way to be free of crime and prosperous for all .
Author: Mr. Heiner Handschin
Director, UPF Office for UN Relations and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
Mr. Heiner Handschin is the President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Switzerland, and the Director of the UPF Office for UN Relations and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. He is the CEO of FPF Assistance, a company providing care and nursing for elderly and disabled people. He is married to Carolyn Handschin, a father of seven children and grandfather of three. Mr. Handschin graduated from the Teachers College of Zurich. He has a keen interest in Fine Arts and is a passionate painter.