On the advent of and during the Christmas Season the institution of the family is greatly sentimentalized. Our thoughts are focused especially on loved ones. There is a spirit of co-operation, fraternity and friendliness all in the name of the Christ Child. We ask His father, to bless our families and imbue them with virtues necessary to weather the storms and turbulence of life.
The gospel tells us about the family of families. The family unit of Jesus exemplifies God’s divine plan for the family. In spite of the many dilemmas, there was no breakdown of the family unit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. There was a shared understanding which sustained their ordinary lives. The fact that Jesus was born in a human family was neither accidental nor incidental.
The institution of the family is very weak today and the manifestation of such is evident in every sector of our society. If unchecked, this can lead to a society in crisis. We can counter this trend by various wholesome actions and behaviours. We can recreate the human family from within. Family life can be transformed. The challenge lies in the way we exercise our freedom. Our choices not only affect our immediate world but our very own personalities. We become what we act out. The effect of promoting good is tremendous.
Two significant occurrences in the Holy Family give us insight to strengthen our own family life. Many of our young people and not so young people have lost their focus and direction mainly because they lack the virtues of respect and obedience. “Respect” and “obedience” are central to a strong family and eventually a healthy society. Jesus respectfully reminded his parents “He was about His father’s business in the temple.” In obedience, the “lost” child Jesus goes home without hesitation with Joseph and Mary. He acknowledged their authority over Him. Do we obey others who have authority over us? Do we respect our elders? Do we observe laws, rules and regulations? Each family unit may ponder upon these questions in earnest. When we improve our own families, we make our school family, workplace family, village family, community family and small island family even stronger.
The school family is central to every society. A spirited and vibrant school ethos will create an environment which generates and sustains the simple and necessary virtues exhibited by the Holy Family. When parents and school educators work in concert to uphold this ethos, not only do the students benefit but the whole society.
In conclusion, let us use the model presented to us by the Christ Child and his parents to counter any shattering of family life.
The National Executive and members of the Dominica Association of Teachers extend good wishes to all as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and are on the threshold of a new year.
Mrs. CELIA NICHOLAS
DOMINICA ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS