Jesus says nothing about focusing on the family. In fact, he said quite the opposite. A quick Google search for the question “What did Jesus say about family?” led me to pages and pages of sites that try to dispel the literal interpretation of Luke 14:22-27 where He says we must “hate” our family to be His disciple. Mostly they explain His words away by saying they must be taken within the context of the time and place.
I most definitely agree with that. I don’t think Jesus ever meant us to hate anyone – particularly not our family. But I also believe that He never meant for that to be our focus. He did, however, talk a lot about children … and it could certainly be argued that our focus should be on them.
When I hear people talking about the abuses they suffered in their homes as children, I become very angry. Sometimes I feel like I should step in when I hear how someone is talking to her own child in a supermarket. It’s even hard for me to go into elementary classrooms these days and watch the faces of many of the children who are absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of information they are supposed to process and to regurgitate by filling in little bubbles in test booklets.
I think that these “random thoughts” bubbled up today because I’ve been thinking about my own childhood and how it has influenced me as a parent and as a teacher. As I thought about what I wanted to write, I realized that I already wrote it in 1998: