By Jerry Roker
for Bahamas Press
Let’s face it, in The Bahamas, the family unit which is the foundation of any society is in crisis and is one of the main reasons for the crime epidemic that is ruining communities. The nation’s only hope for success lies in the revival of the family unit.
The family unit has an enormous impact on the lives of children and on the type of society they live in. It produces ambitious, moral and law abiding children. It also produces rebellious and delinquent youths. Therefore society cannot afford to ignore the importance of the family unit. It must take parenting seriously.
The institution of marriage, is the main component of the family unit and must be respected. Those who think otherwise will become poor examples to society. There are many who disregard the institution of marriage. Divorce and separations, which impact negatively on children in general has often resulted in the break-up of the family unit. Right or wrong, many believe that womanizing by men is one of the primary reasons for divorce. Be that it may, children are the ones who suffer the most from divorces and separations. They struggle to cope and many endure enormous pain, suffering and embarrassment. Therefore, for the benefit of children, society must do all it can to make sure that marriages are kept intact for their benefit.
Generally, children raised in married families are more likely to attend college, be emotionally healthier, less likely to be physically or sexually abused, less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit crimes. Few are expected to divorce when they get married and they seldom become pregnant or impregnate someone as a teenager. Stable marriages impact society positively and would have a downsizing effect on crime.
However, it seems that fewer and fewer people are getting married today, and when couples do get married, they are increasingly much older and most would have a career. Gone are the days when couples chose to get married in their teens or their early 20s.One of the reasons being is that many of them prefer to live together before getting married. Another is that some, especially women prefer to be more secure in their careers before marriage and procreation. Another reason is marriage seems not to be on the radar of a growing number of couples. While there seem to be a decline in the number of marriages, there also seem to be a significant increase in divorces and separations.
This is a challenge for society and a sign that unity and permanence are fast becoming a sign of disunity and impermanence. In an era of fewer marriages, society must do all it can to help reduce the rate of divorces and separations. All, including society, the church, community groups and organizations should equip couples with the life skills needed to save their marriages and prevent divorces. The less socio-economic strain on marriages the more likely they will last. The nation must also pray and work together in one common social ethical agenda to help save marriages. In the grit of everyday life, married couples need the support of everyone.
Society has to frown upon and reject the type of lifestyle that continues to keep the family unit in a dysfunctional state. A dysfunctional family unit is more likely to produce children who may not complete their education. And they are more likely to join gangs and become criminals. The truth is, one of the major causes of youths being incarcerated has to do with the breakdown of the family unit.
Society must do all it can to save our youths who are the future of the country. Everyone, even those opposed to marriage, must help to protect the family unit. It is a moral undertaking that is essential for the proper functioning of society. And it begins with each individual.