Our take: Researchers have long touted the impacts of the family structure on society. The relative stability of family life has been correlated with the success of children, both in their educational and future professional goals. In this article by Christianity Today, Graham Scharf explores just how important early childhood parenting is for a child — and how much it can shape who that child becomes.
How could you already be so messed up?
The question ran through my mind as I looked at Dylan, a lanky, disruptive second grader in the Brooklyn "school in need of improvement" where I taught. One day, the answer came in the middle of class. Dylan volunteered, "My dad's in jail because he tried to kill my mom." Suddenly, Dylan's behavior made sense. In the span of a few minutes, my exasperation turned into compassion. Getting to know Dylan, his classmates, and their families deepened my longing for the fulfillment of Isaiah 58:12: rebuilding ruins, raising up foundations, and restoring streets to dwell in.
That comprehensive flourishing envisioned in Isaiah cannot happen without flourishing families. If all other social institutions are restored, and the family remains in ruins, a community cannot thrive, because the family is the lynchpin of character formation, skill development, and cultural transmission. In communities of cyclical poverty like my Brooklyn neighborhood, raising up foundations means intervening where the cycle begins: at birth, and through the family.
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