The Family Under Assault!
“FAMILY is the oldest human institution. In many ways it is the most important. It is society’s most basic unit. Entire civilizations have survived or disappeared, depending on whether family life was strong or weak.”
So said The World Book Encyclopedia back in 1973. Viewed from today’s perspective, however, those words take on an ominous, almost foreboding, tone. The last few years have witnessed what amounts to a frontal assault on family life. Popular counselor John Bradshaw writes: “There is a crisis in the family today. . . . The high divorce rate, teenage disorders, massive drug abuse, epidemic incest, eating disorders and physical battering are evidence that something is radically wrong.”
Indeed, “evidence that something is radically wrong” with the family can be found all over the world. The Unesco Courier said regarding the situation in Europe: “Since 1965, there has been a big increase in the number of divorces throughout the continent. . . . [There] has been an increase in the number of single-parent families.” Developing lands are likewise seeing an increase in family distress. Writer Hélène Tremblay observes: “For millions of people living in societies that have known a regular, predictable, unchanging way of life for centuries, today is a time of tumult.”
Particularly alarming is the environment existing in many homes today. In the United States alone, millions upon millions of children are being raised by an alcoholic parent. There has also been an appalling increase in family violence. In their book Intimate Violence, researchers Richard Gelles and Murray Straus report: “You are more likely to be physically assaulted, beaten, and killed in your own home at the hands of a loved one than anyplace else, or by anyone else in our society.”
If civilization’s survival really depends upon the strength of the family, there is reason to fear for civilization’s future. Still, the fate of civilization may be the very least of your worries. More than likely your concern is what such turmoil may portend for your family. What will the outcome be? The answer from an authoritative source may very well surprise you.