"...and they shall become one flesh."
Many families receive their instructions about family operations from television and other sources. Unfortunately, these sources often give us images of dysfunctional families because families that don't work are what people want to see.
A generation ago, television was just the opposite. Programs such as Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, and the Andy Griffin Show showed different types of families positively encountering real-life issues.
Unfortunately, generations have been presented with The Bunker Family; of All in the Family, is a family headed by Archie Bunker, a racist, sexist, and domineering man. The Jefferson Family of the Jefferson TV Show It, too, is racist and bent on using people and climbing up at others' expense to their big apartment on the East Side. The Bundy Family, of Married with Children, never had any money, and all of them seemed obsessed with sex. The Conners family on Roseanne is depicted as a lower-class blue-collar family that is often abusive and excessive. The Simpsons, The Boon Docks, and Family Guy are all cartoon families that show children cursing their parents, cartoon sex, and just about any other dysfunction you can think of.
Television teaches things about black families, whether good or bad. Black families on television live well. The Huxtables of the Cosbys live exceptionally well. Riley and Granddad in the Boondocks live in a comfortable suburban home.
The Paynes of the House of Payne live well for a single-income public servant. The Jeffersons lived in a deluxe apartment in the sky. In reality, all families don't live comfortably; many are struggling, with some sleeping on floors, couches, and chairs.
God has a formula for families spelled out in the Biblical record. The Biblical family follows the principles of godliness that please God. If we follow God's example and not that of modern television, we will please the Lord. God gives us families that work.
African-American families can find guidance and strength in our faith and spiritual values. By prioritizing godliness and moral principles in our families, we can build relationships that please God and are more likely to endure challenges.
We should be encouraged to set realistic expectations for own own lives and not compare ourselves to the idealized or stereotype portrayals we see on television. Understanding that not all families live in luxury, or in poverty can help individuals and families better navigate our own unique circumstances and challenges.