Last week, we talked about how the family is the basic unit of our society and our economy (read here) and how all larger institutions should be interested in preserving and supporting families simply because they ultimately depend on families for their own survival.

This week, and in certain future articles, we will pick out one of the larger institutions of society, and try to point out how and why it should put more effort into the support of families.

There are only a few institutions large enough to be real "engines of change" that can influence and impact our daily lives — big corporations, big media, big government, etc. Today we will look at business.

The family is the basic unit of our economy and only families can provide the stability that enables businesses to flourish.

Our private-enterprise system and free-market economy are the envy of the world, and we all owe a great deal of the quality of our lives to the innovation and efficiency of the corporate world.

Yet many business institutions, particularly large ones, motivated by self-preservation, profit and growth, have begun to squeeze and supplant and substitute for the very families they were created to supply, support and supplement.

They have taken over some of the functions that should only belong to families and have fostered the impression that families are losing relevance.

They have stolen away the time and loyalty of parents. They have promoted materialism and debt with hedonistic advertising and enabled and encouraged it further with liberal lending policies.

Businesses must come to better understand that it is in their best interest to do all within their power to preserve and promote strong and stable traditional families wherein the values of self-sufficiency and responsibility are exemplified and taught.

In doing more of this, Corporate America could spawn and develop and stabilize not only their present and future customers but their present and future workforce (employees and managers).

Like the cells of a body, the health and viability of families determines the vibrancy and vitality as well as the longevity of the larger business and economic organism.

Corporations that ignore the plight of and the needs of families do so at the peril of their own survival … they are slowly but surely dismembering themselves.

By creating a company culture that demands all of an employee's loyalty and absorbs all of his energy, businesses orphan families into millstone appendages. And with marketing that poses wants as needs and creates demand out of envy, marketers and merchandisers manipulate families to mortgage their time and traditions for status.

Instead, businesses need to protect their own consumer base and employee pool by encouraging — both internally (among their employees) and externally (among their customers) — the classic values of respect, responsibility, self-reliance, honesty and family priority that make a market economy thrive.

Most consumer money is spent on family-related goods and services, and customers (as well as workers) are drawn toward and develop loyalty to companies with family-oriented images and with a precedent of serving and supporting family values.

One of our sons, in a recent job interview, told the company that he would not work 15-hour days or let the job's demands overshadow the priority of his family.

He got the job anyway, but there are too few employees who make that kind of demand and too few companies that would accept it ... too few corporations that understand that taking into account the needs of the families of their employees (in fact, having the conscious goal of improving and valuing their family relationships) is one of the best things a business can do for its long-range bottom line because family-friendly policies push turnover, absenteeism, fatigue and dissatisfaction down even as they boost loyalty, commitment and creativity.

By the same token, companies that think about and factor in the long-term good of the families of customers, clients and audiences will preserve and retain those consumers to buy another day.

The bottom line really is the bottom line.

Corporations that become more sensitive and concerned with the welfare and stability of the families of both their workforce and their consumers will reap a stronger long-term bottom line even as they fulfill their responsibility to the most basic institution of the broader society.

The Eyres' three latest books are "The Entitlement Trap," "5 Spiritual Solutions" and "The Three Deceivers." Richard and Linda are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Read Linda Eyre's blog at www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html and visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or www.valuesparenting.com. Listen to their weekly radio show on Mondays at 4:30 at www.byuradio.org.