Weekly Thought – April 8, 2014
Fred grew up as the third boy in a family of five. His Dad was a Southern Baptist preacher who pastored in the mill district of North Nashville during the depression. His Mother was a strong woman who fed their family of seven (and everyone else who came to the door) by watering down the soup and stretching the vegetables. He met his wife Mary Alice in English class when they were twelve, but didn’t date until after high school. They raised three children and the family now includes 6 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Your continuing support for the Weekly Thought and the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute is deeply appreciated. Please pray for the event at Taylor University April 24, 25. The team goes to “stretch and bless the next generation of leaders… to the glory of God.”
A family is like a cluster of steel balls held together by a strong, unifying magnetism. Each member is separate, yet together, drawn by the magnetism in each ball and held by the force of the whole. The cluster is flexible, not permanently joined to one piece or another. Families, too, should be gathered together by the force of love while holding individuality and not permanently affixed in position. This allows for growth and change.
As the families grow, the steel pieces are added, and the force of love encompasses them all. The magnetism is not a closed universe, but expands as the family model changes. The addition of more children, in-laws, and grandchildren just stretches the reach of the magnetism.
In the magnetized “ball cluster” concept, love’s magnetism does not restrict movement, growth, individual responsibility, or our identity. If something happens to one, the others coagulate, forming a new cluster.
In contrast, hostility pushes the pieces apart and turns the magnetism into non-magnetism and polarized relations.
I prefer the polarized steel balls model to the link or chain concepts. Some who describe families picture them as a large ring with the other rings hanging from it – much like a key ring. If this main link breaks, the others are sent flying without any sense of individualism or ability to cope. I see too many family units built around a strong father or mother with the children as mere attachments. Death or divorce can completely destroy the functionality of each link.
Another illustration is the chain in which one fits into another in an interlocking pattern. When one is locked into another, there is limited movement. The attachment is by design and not always successful.
Families should be fluid; and families should be flourishing. Being drawn by the magnetic pull of love creates an environment for maturity and strength.
Think about: 1) What model does my family use? 2) How can I provide an environment for family growth? 3) Who models a magnetized-by-love family?
Words of Wisdom: “A family is like a cluster of steel balls held together by a strong, unifying magnetism.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, and honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17 NET Bible)