The family is the only unit in society based on need. To a degree, this was the same in Roman times, although the extensive fiduciary support we have come to take as the norm in this day and age (i.e. supporting parent benefits, child endowments, etc.) did not exist in Falco’s times.
The task, role and function of families have not changed with time. The family has a responsibility to pass on to the children many truths and values, and competencies to achieve their station in life, whatever the society, whatever the culture or times. The eternal values of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Harmlessness (Non-Violence) are passed on first through the family; mothers are the first teachers. Mother is foundational, central, life-bringer and life-shaper.
From their mothers, children acquire self knowledge, self confidence, learn self-satisfaction, self-worth, the capacity for self-sacrifice and realise themselves as human beings, competent to move beyond the veil of I, Me, Mine, to kindness, friendship, generosity, compassion, tolerance, responsibility and service to society. These qualities, they acquire in the family. The family has a needed developmental task, in order to shape the child to find his or her place in society with confidence.
So we may lay out the task, functions, roles and competencies modelled and shaped by the family like so:
|Self Knowledge||Self Confidence||Self Satisfaction||Self Sacrifice||Self Awareness|
|Learning to Know||Learning to Do||Learning to Live Together||Learning to Be|
If we examine the role of family and the value of Truth, immediately ‘tell the truth’ comes to mind. Children are taught to tell the Truth; so Truth is something that existed before they were born, and is innate within them. How is this elicited and made present in the lives of children? Children can be taught the capacity to distinguish between truth and untruth in words, and thus, the eternal, pre-existing truth may be known and practised. Truth is primarily known in speech.
As we have seen in Venus in Copper (where Truth took a bit of a beating) Truth is comprised of several sub-values; we can also call these behaviours, components, attitudes that make truth present. These are, as we recall, truthfulness, creativity, self-reflection, honesty, determination, fairness and trust.
If we marry this up with the tasks of the family, then children, we could say, are learning to know what truth is. Pastimes and activities are learning opportunities where wants, needs, desires and whatever else drives children clash with the real world, where children learn to know their world, self knowledge, their role and place in family as a learner, as a social unit, I, Me, Myself, my skills, my ability, my problem solving skills, my intelligence, my contribution.
As our chart above shows, Right Conduct scopes to self-confidence, learning to do (it right) and skill mastery. Looking at the sub values and attitude components of right conduct, we saw that these included manners, health awareness, helpfulness, responsibility, independence, perseverance and courage. These are fruitful, life-enhancing skills and abilities, capacity within, which, when named, shown, modelled and elicited, bring about self confidence, true humanness and transcendence; children are in touch with the eternal righteousness which is the support of all the moral order of this world, the universe and the next.
The family is the place where children learn good table manners, to eat properly, to keep themselves clean. These learnings impart the values of good manners and responsibility. Children learn helpfulness when they help around the home, in their bedrooms, and in fulfilling household chores. Perseverance is learned when a self-set task or a family task is pursued to completion and satisfaction. The environment of filial love and homely love enable the children to complete this and achieve self confidence.
The role of families in inculcating Peace leads to self-satisfaction, learning to live together and interior balance, something which is a priceless gift. The sub-values of peace and attitudes inherent in this are patience, concentration, positiveness, self-acceptance, self-discipline, thankfulness and contentment. Patience is self-management, self-control, mind management and tolerance. Concentration leads to success in any activity; positiveness bespeaks humbleness, modesty, humility, esteem and personal self-regard. These are imparted by the parents by way of role modelling. Self acceptance leads to self-reliance, confidence, unafraid and self-possession. Self discipline rests on self-worth, that quality of having a sense of values in face of temptations. Love itself is self-disciplined and sets its own example in this regard. Self management and self control are modelled by the parents in many ways, from behaviour, to language, to spending habits. Thankfulness is gratitude, appreciation, acknowledgement and recognition. Contentment is peace of mind, satisfaction, heart’s ease, a satisfied conscience and reconciliation with all-that-is. These attitudes and qualities add up to manifestation of the value of Peace.
Love binds families, love is the glue of all existence. The responsibility of all family task lies in moving children beyond that attitude of I, Me, Mine, continual grasping and wanting to unselfish, self worth, self sacrifice and Insight: I am loved, I am lovable, I am loving, I am Love.
The sub values of love and its component attitudes are kindness, friendship, generosity, compassion, tolerance, and service, that is, self-giving that births selflessness, doing, giving, giving love, giving goodness. Tolerance, unselfishness, sharing of possessions and toys, cooperation between family members all manifest love.
Kindness has aspects of benevolence, responsiveness, understanding, courtesy, sympathy and decency. Friendship is about caring, sharing, companionship, being there, warmth, cordiality and heartiness. Forgiveness is pardon and discarding the offence; it is mercy, grace, graciousness, remitting the fault, forbearance, wiping the slate clean and burying the hatchet. Generosity is giving, bestowing, donation of time, talents and resources. Compassion is fellow feeling, feeling “for” the other, feeling “with” the other; it is capacity, insight, understanding and feeling the other’s situation. Tolerance is forbearance, restraint, patience, live-and-let-live, an unhurried calm to live together, to allow the other to be. Service, as we have seen is self giving, doing, giving, donation of time, skill, service for the ultimate good of the other, simply because there is love.
Non-violence and harmlessness is the ultimate human competency learned in the hearth of the family. It is self-realisation, learning to be, acquisition of identity amidst the constant changing world of name and form.
Non-violence is comprised of the following sub values and attitudes: consideration, cooperation, global stewardship, loyalty, active citizenship, justice, and respect. Consideration comprises attentiveness of others and awareness; cooperation is inclusiveness and harmony. Global stewardship is the practice of being a socially responsible citizen with an eye to the future, and the world we are creating for ourselves and our children, and their children. Loyalty has elements of reliability, trust, compassion and commitment. Active Citizenship expresses love for one’s fellow man and country; it is love of the motherland and nation-building, law abiding presence. Justice is the fulfilment of compassion and leads to peace, Justice has outcomes that satisfy conscience, righteousness and upholds eternal values. Respect scopes to include the individual, others, the conscience, and embodies social identity with tolerance, harmlessness, love, being and forbearance.
So we can see that the role and function of family is an enormous developmental task; in addition to conferring knowledge, skill, balance, insight and identity, it has to elicit those eternal human values within as well. Children must develop their problem-solving skills along with self-satisfaction, a sense of self-worth and take their place competently, in the social order.
Families are not without stress and strain, and breakages. The family, as we have said, is a social unit based on need, which has the responsibility of producing skilful, healthful and active contributors to the life of society. A family is a web of relationships; the spouses have their bond, their relationships; siblings bond to their parents and each other, even in the face of sibling rivalry. Husband and Wife, in addition to having their bond, have tasks, must work, garner an income, raise a family, and inculcate all it is that the children must learn.
When a family breaks down, there can be blame, resentment, distress, a gaping emotional hole in the hearts of all who were that family unit. When one or another partner leaves, the basic tasks as illuminated in our chart may fail to be completed; development and growth tasks may be absent, role modelling may fail, or be rejected, and inner conflict and self-blame may occur within the children.
So we see that there are enormous burdens on this social unit called family, this network of relationships (which includes the extended family) which is the most needy unit of all; it needs bonds, structures, boundaries and strength in order to fulfil all its tasks with love and responsibility.
Go to the Poseidon and Values page, were we illustrate some of these values and family functions as we discover some of the relationships in Falco’s family.
Truth is what we speak,
Right Conduct is what we practise,
Love is what we live,
Peace is what we give,
Non-violence is the fruit.