Stereotypes persist about what a family “should” look like. Those stereotypes can cause embarrassment or anguish to people whose families look different in any way. What a family “should” look like, in my opinion, is a group of people who love each other unconditionally – who care for, protect, and respect each other. It makes me happy to see families in our church like the one I walked out with yesterday – mom, dad, brother, sister — all smiles, teasing each other. It makes me happy to see families in church like one I know where daughter, son, mom, dad and stepdad all come together to church functions, and sit together, enjoying each other’s company. I delight when I officiate at a wedding where the bride is escorted in by both dad and stepdad. We have single-parent families, we have families where there are no children, we have same-sex couples, we have grandparents raising grandchildren. They are all families. Together we become the church family, a community where we learn from each other, share common experiences, and support each other.
Doug and I went to see the acclaimed film, “Boyhood”, last Friday. The film was made over a 12-year period of time and is about the everyday moments in the life of a boy. You literally see him grow up on screen. When the film first began, I thought that the man who plays the boy’s father was going to be a stereotypical deadbeat dad. But as the film progresses, the dad grows up, too, and becomes a loving, very engaged father. The relationship between the boy and his dad is beautiful; we see the importance of quality time. I was impressed with the father’s ability to avoid small talk and instead converse with his children on a deep level. He seized every moment, not to lecture his children, but to get to know them and to talk to them about what matters most. Kudos to Hollywood for producing a film that glorifies the simple experiences of daily life and the qualities that make a healthy family.