No. 1250



Since the beginning of recorded history, the family unit has always been one of the essential building blocks in the success of an empire or a nation. The late William Thayer expressed it this way: “If well ordered, they are the springs from which go forth the streams of national greatness and prosperity, of civil order and public happiness.” As leaders in the homes of America, our decisions will often affect our family for years to come.
According to the Bible I’ve been reading for the past several years, not one of us is perfect. For example, in Romans 3:23 it says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and I know this is true. While I’m not perfect and certainly not a preacher, it’s my heart’s desire to share something with you that will help you become a happier, richer and more successful person. To do this, sometimes all we need is to be reminded of those things most important to us.
Some time ago I heard a true story that I believe can have a tremendous bearing on the traditional family in the years to come. In the 17th century there were two families in America by the names of Edwards and Jukes. As the head of the Edwards family, Mr. Edwards was a Godly man and he did his best to provide spiritual leadership and also be a productive and law-abiding member of society. Mr. Jukes, on the other hand, was more or less a common criminal, spending much of his time in jail, and was anything but a good example for others to follow.
Several years ago, someone did a study on the history of these two families, and here is what they found: the Edwards family produced the famous minister, Jonathan Edwards, who entered Yale University at the age of 13 and later became a great theologian, as well as an author of several books. Further research revealed the Edwards family tree contained a long list of ministers, college presidents and other prominent members of society. Research on the Jukes family revealed the virtues of the original Mr. Jukes were also passed on to his offspring. The Jukes family consisted of many criminals and others of unsavory character.
The point here should be clear: if you are the leader of your home, the kind of person you are and the decisions you make will affect your family. If you are living the kind of life, however, of which you are not proud and have personal vices and habits that would keep you from being a good role model, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your children will turn out the same way. People with this kind of background have risen above their circumstances to become outstanding successes. In no way do I want you to take what I’m saying too personally, because we all have problems, burdens and challenges, but there is a principle we should all consider. “What’s true in the root will be seen in the fruit.” There is a lot of truth in the saying, “Like father, like son.”
The one thing our children want from us more than anything else is our approval and they will often go to great lengths to get it. This is a free country where we have the opportunities to make our own choices and decisions that affect our lives. Keep in mind, however, your decisions will affect your family and they will often have consequences for many years to come. A good example is the two young men who killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. I’m sure if their parents had the chance they would like to do it all over again. This is something that will haunt them for the rest of their days. Hopefully we can all learn from this tragedy.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)