RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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The Importance of Family
An exploration of the purpose of family
The family is of vital importance to Christians. Its main purpose is to provide a stable environment for raising children in the Christian faith, and also to care for all members, particularly those who are frail and sick.
Children are seen as a blessing from God. Christians believe that when God made the world, he did not want it to be empty (Isaiah 45:18). In the Bible, Adam and Eve, God commands the first humans to, 'multiply and fill the earth' (Genesis 1:28), so having children is part of God's plan. Christians believe that God creates all living things, including babies.
Security and Support
Christians believe that the best way to raise children is within a family unit, with two committed parents. Being in a family gives the children the security and support that they need to grow up into whole and healthy individuals. This support is also extended to the elderly and sick members of the family. The Bible makes it clear that it is important people care for each other:
'But if any do not take care of their relatives, especially the members of their own family, they have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever.' 1 Timothy 5:8
Christians feel it is right for them to teach their children about Christianity, with the family unit being the best way to do this. Some Christians (Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Methodists for example) will baptise babies, as a symbol of the first step in their Christian life. Others have a ceremony of dedication (Baptists, Pentecostals, Brethren etc.) to thank God for their baby and to dedicate the child to God. Later, children can be confirmed or choose to be baptised as an adult.
Christians take their children to church, encouraging them to go to Sunday School, teaching them how to pray and worship. Alongside this, parents also teach children about Christian beliefs and values, such as love, justice, and forgiveness.
In the Ten Commandments, children are told to honour their parents (Exodus 20:12). This means that they should respect and obey them. This commandment is repeated in the New Testament of the Bible, where children are told to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-4).
In the same passage from Ephesians, parents are told:
- not to exasperate (that is, wind up) their children
- to bring them up to know the Christian faith
- to discipline their children