I spent some time recently with my niece, husband and their two beautiful young children, a boy aged 6, and his sister, aged 3.
This couple love each other and have a good marriage. The husband has a full time and good job that he is happy in. She has chosen to stay home to look after the children.
As I listened to some of their realities of daily life I was reminded once again of some of the challenges that families face.
I was also reminded how review of all relationships can be beneficial.
Review of Marriage and parenting can be of great help to all families.
Not so many years ago generations lived very close by to each other. I remember my grandmother lived five minutes away from one of her sisters and seven minutes away from another. When their parents were alive, they lived across the road.
I remember the family gatherings, the cups of tea, the cousins playing with each other.
We have heard it said that no person is an island. Neither is a couple an island.
In this case with my niece’s family, my sister is a great support even though she has a full-time job.
A number of groups such as Couples For Christ, Teams of Our Lady, The Neo Catechumen Way, etc. have arisen in the church to offer faith and other forms of support to families.
Many do not live in close proximity to extended family. Our parishes are often large and widespread.
We need to continue searching for good, creative and effective ways to support families.
So many families face serious challenges: illness, relational issues, various forms of dysfunction etc.
Then there are single parents so often battling on their own!
As church, we are called to love each other. It is imperative that we reflect, judge and act on this important issue and find ways of support to all.
I do not pretend to think that it is easy.
However, the Gift of the Holy Spirit is given to us and we need to listen.
What about those living alone? Who is left out? Who goes under the radar?