I had the privilege of having an hour-long conversation with an 80 year old woman from our church the other day. A woman that I consider a friend and am glad to know her. As we spent some time together, we were able to converse about many things. We talked family, church, weather, age, recreation, and just life in general. It was a sweet time. I really enjoyed it and will remember it.
After much conversation, I asked my friend a question. I said, “You are 80 and you have seen a lot. What would you say has affected our culture more than anything for the better or worse.” Without hesitating, she looked right at me and said “the downfall of the family.” I asked, “More than the development of the TV or technology or the ability to travel or new information or social changes or whatever?” She said the family.
And then she said something that was key. She said all those other things have just affected the family for the worse. TV and technology have replaced conversations that were once had with the family. Changed cultural norms on the idea of divorce have resulted in more broken homes than ever. A shift to being a more open sexual culture has resulted in more kids than ever born out of wedlock. The obsession with sports has created schedules and passions that are often not helpful in building deep, meaningful family relationships. And on she went. I could feel the wisdom in the air from this great answer.
As she spoke, I was reminded of something I once heard someone say. Every civilization will only be as strong as the strength and health of its families. In her 80 years, from 1933 until now, my wise friend says nothing has shaped where we are now more than the erosion of good home life. I think there is much data to support this. Her answer was sobering and shaping.