This is the first pillar in a series on a discussion about the seven pillars of any society. While I said that I hadn’t listed them in any order. This one was first for many reasons. Mostly because it is the subject closest to my heart. I studied Family Science during my college days, and I think it is one of the more important pillars in any society.
As it states in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” So, it warrants that we place a high importance to the family. But first we must discuss what is family.
The fact is that the “traditional” family as claimed by many American Christians and Latter-day Saints isn’t so traditional. It may be the tradition of the United States, but, historically, it hasn’t been much of a tradition. When you consider war creating single-mother households, ancient practices of polygamy and concubines creating single-mother households, and when you consider slavery and it’s impact on the family unit, it is hard to call the two-parent household the traditional family.
However, the combining into groups of individuals because of love and kinship has always happened, and is a very essential part to rearing children. And family has always played an important part in education children, whether that education is a secular education or a moral education.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the two-parent home. I know it is the best way to raise children from both my study of the research and from personal experience. But for all to understand the meaning of family, we need to accept that it isn’t as “typical” as we like to think.
As we discuss these seven pillars, I posed in a previous post that we consider which of the seven pillars should lead the others. In order to do that, I want to look at examples of known cultures where each pillar was dominant in their culture.
For the family, I think that the tribal system is perhaps the best example of a family-lead society. Whether these tribal communities are those from the early residents of the United States or the clans of the ancient British Isles, they will serve as a good example of how a family dominant society might be.
At first, it seems great. Family takes care and loves each other. Family is the best place to teach values. Family can teach children to read, write and perform important skills. In a family-lead society, there is a strong sense of belonging, and a great need for parents to raise children.
So, what are the pitfalls of a family based society? While I think there are several, like a tendency to monarchies and the potential to propagate misunderstanding and misinformation, there is one aspect that really speaks to the problems of a family-led society. That is the aspect of isolationism.
The biggest problem with the family lead community is the potential it creates for extra-familial conflict because of isolation. I have researched a bit of the Grant Clan because of my name. And I was intrigued by the conflicts between the British Clans of the 13-17th centuries. There are also many examples of inter-tribal wars between the Native American Tribes in the 17th and 18th Century. There was huge conflicts between the tribe because family dominated over other aspects of society.
So, while the family is a very important and powerful unit in society, we can see that it doesn’t always lead to a peaceful greater good. While family is valuable to rearing children and teaching morals. Because of its exclusionary nature, it can lead to greater conflict with neighboring families.
When I first asked myself the question of which of the seven pillars should lead, I thought that perhaps it should be the family. I now believe that I was wrong. I believe that there is a better option for how society should use the seven pillars to create a strong society. We will address that in a later post.