So we get people saying this to us sometimes. Clarification: people do not think we are perfect people, nor perfect parents. However, we’ve got two girls, and my wife is pregnant again with twin boys. And when we say the twins are boys they’ll say something along the lines of “Wow, perfect!” or “You must be so happy to have the perfect balance”.
I get that people are just trying to be nice, but it seems to me like a pretty low bar for perfection! Don’t get me wrong, we’re both excited about the prospect of the twins coming, but if we’re honest, it would have been just as exciting if it were two more girls we were having.
That did get me thinking though. What is a perfect family? We all strive for this ideal and yet we have radically different ideas of what that looks like. Whether the number, gender or schooling of kids; whether one of you stays home to look after them or you both work, whether you encourage sports, music, language or all of the above.
The relieving thing for me is that the perfect family didn’t exist, because if your children did every activity you could wish them to and you got a “healthy balance” of parent-child time, you would end up having no time left for sleep. And yet we crazily search like there’s some magic answer that we can rationalise the way we want our children to grow up.
So what then should we model our family from? If we look at how God has adopted us into his family [Ephesians 1: 5], perhaps we’ll get an idea. What is God’s family like?
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
There are so many passages in the bible that we could go to, but this one is so good—right before Jesus is to die he implores his disciples to show God’s love to each other. And you know what he means right? The family who gets along, the family who genuinely all care for each other, who do their best to look out for each other and you can see love each other are the ones we are drawn to.
I won’t say “All you need is love”, because that is too much like a pithy motivational poster to mean anything useful. But if they primary thing that you think of about your family isn’t the love for each other, perhaps there’s work to be done.