2017-03-17 / Chaplain's News

Building a better family for better selves

CHAPLAIN’S CORNER
BY CHAPLAIN (MAJ.) WILLIAM C. NICHOLAS, JR.
Garrison Chaplain’s Center

What important goal are you striving for to build up your family? What are you doing to realize the dream? These are important questions not only for premarital couples, or newlyweds. They are crucial at any age - especially for singles. You don’t have to wait to begin with marriage or a birth of a child. It can begin today - I’ll use the terms “marriage” and “family” interchangeably.

What does building a good family require? First, acknowledge you have the capacity to build up yourself and others (Ecclesiastes 3:3). Second, increase self-awareness and knowledge about healthy relationships. Learning does not occur by osmosis. It is gained by seeking opportunities to learn, and learning from others. Third, it requires application in your life and practice with others. Start with relationships at hand. Building a family is never exclusively a solo endeavor.

Address commonly known aspects of your relationships. Recognition of spouses, children, siblings, friends and associates builds appreciation. Giving public recognition and credit builds respect and reputations. Honesty (confession), thoughtfulness (understanding), caring (compassion), and graciousness (forgiving) builds up. Appropriate physical touch reassures and communicates belonging. Practicing these each day – you will tear down what is bad and build up in its place the good. It’s a kind of cognitive behavioral therapy for the soul and family.

So what results if you seek, gain, and do such things? You get a better version of yourself. This is crucial for singles, because like in physics – likes tends to attract. Start building in you a foundation in yourself, for the future family for which you aspire. For couples it gets you not only a better version of yourselves. In theory, it may get you a better version of your marriage. “In theory” means, there is no guarantee because you want a better marriage or family, others do. But it is a guarantee that you will never build a better living of life if you do not change for better. In the words of Star Trek captain Jean Luc Picard, “Make it so!”

Many at Fort Gordon dedicate their lives for such change. Two prominent sources are chaplains and ACS. They form a greater community offering classes, counseling, and events. Your unit chaplain spends much time doing Strong Bonds events. Seek out your chaplain to find when the next event or for counsel. The Center Chaplain’s Office has two events planned. A day event is planned for single Soldiers April 21. An evening event is planned for couples May 19.

I close with a scripture for your reflection. “But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!” (Jude 20-21, MSG)

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