I happen to love the programs “Modern Family” and “Family Guy”.  I’ve set my DVR to record each episode every week so I can savor them at my leisure.  Both shows attempt to spin “traditional family values” in very different ways.

The phrase, “traditional family values” begs the question, “Has there ever been a traditional family?”  Now…many people will jump at the chance to parrot the idea that the traditional family has always consists of one man married to one woman, who in turn have children, grandchildren and an extended family.  Yet this model for family life is far from traditional.

If we go back just a century, we would see that large numbers of people grew up in blended families.  Children died from disease at an alarming rate, and so did parents. In my own family my grandmother’s husband died young, leaving her with four children.  The eldest girl married at 16 (no, she was not pregnant).  My grandmother remarried my grandfather, had two more sons (the elder was my father).  Then she died in childbirth, along with the baby.  The two older half-sisters raised the two youngest boys as members of their family units.  Traditional?

If we go back a couple of millennia we come to the Christian paradigm of the “holy family” of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  Yet Mary was a teenaged unwed mother, whose child’s father was shrouded in mystery.  Joseph married her nonetheless.  Catholic teaching is that they both remained virgins and never experienced sex.  Joseph, much older than Mary, left her a young widow to parent Jesus alone.  Traditional?

Okay, so let’s go further back to primary sources.  Many people take the bible literally and believe that the human race started with Adam and Eve.  That means the world was populated through incest.  In addition life on earth got a pretty dysfunctional start in the Garden of Eden, and two of their sons, Cain and Abel, gave sibling rivalry an awful name.  Traditional?

When coaching men, it is vital to understand: a) the perspective of ideal family life they were taught, b) the kind of family life they actually experienced, and c) the family life they wish to have.  Our concept of “traditional family values” can seriously hinder our growth toward mature relationships if they are not examined critically…and sometimes rejected.
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