“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Did you know that Monday, September 26, 2011 is “Family Day”? Created four years ago by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Family Day is a national effort to promote family dinners. According to research, children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs.
Isn’t it tragic that something as fundamental to the wellbeing of our society as families spending time together now requires a special day of national promotion? What is even more tragic, however, is the fact that the traditional family is disappearing altogether from the American landscape.
According to the 2000 census, households headed by traditional married couples have now dropped below 25% (less than one out of every four) for the first time in our nation’s history. This should come as no surprise to us when we stop to consider that 50% of all marriages in America end in divorce, that 33% of all white births and 70% of all black births in America are to unwed mothers, and that 50% of all Americans have lived with an unmarried partner at one time or another.
It’s not putting the family back at the dinner table, but putting the family back together again that America needs. We can only hope and pray that this crucial task for our nation’s future doesn’t prove to be like Humpty Dumpty—who all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put back together again.