Pastor's Desk - The Family

May 05, 2024

The Family- Empowered to heal.

Many stories have been shared over the years about people who experience brokenness and pain, loss and disappointment, setbacks and comebacks, failures, and successes in their lives. Not all these people are in the church, but I am sure that all persons in the church have experienced one or more of these stories at some point in their lives.

There was an interview aired on TVJ’s Smile Jamaica recently, by Simone, of a young lady who was a Certified Engine System Mechanic. What struck me about the interview was not so much that the interviewee, Kenedra Gardner was excelling in a field normally reserved for men. That’s ok, and I do believe, men and women can excel in any profession they apply themselves to. Miss Gardner, in talking about the impact of her father on her life, teared up while talking, observing that he was such a great influence and support and was not even her biological father. That statement and story touched me deeply. ( Read the comments under the video.

This is family at its best as a healing community.

The family was created as an important social unit offering a safe nurturing space for children and adults. It’s a place for persons to grow, to fulfill their potential as human beings created in the image of God; it’s a space for education in moral and ethical values and the development of social and emotional skills; it’s a place to care for the elderly and those who may experience any kind of physical and mental disability. It's healing if it moves people from brokenness to wholeness.

When these goals are achieved there is happiness, there is the fostering of peace, love, harmony, and togetherness. We are not saying that there won't be conflicts, misunderstandings, and disappointments but a healthy family develops the skills to manage these. What are these skills that can make families safer spaces for healing and growth?

The dominant family patterns in Jamaica according to the 1993 Grace Kennedy lecture by Prof. Elsa Leo-Rhynie are,

  1. Married: man and woman legally united and sharing the same residence.
  2. Common-law: man and woman not legally united, but sharing a sexual 
  3. Visiting: man and woman sharing a sexual relationship but not legally united nor sharing a common residence. (Leo-Rhynie 1993;7) 

These families invariably include the ‘extended family members”, grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews, and step-children. But whatever the family forms, these skills are needed to create and sustain healthy healing families. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love”.(Eph. 4:2 NLT)


I have found that showing gratitude and appreciation often contributes greatly to family harmony and empowerment. Showing gratitude allows family members to recognize the value of each other. It could be gratitude for preparing a meal, keeping the common space clean, dropping off at church or school, and buying treats periodically. Everyone in the family must be made to feel that they are appreciated.

Another side of appreciation is commendation. This is simple praise and honour. It is not so much expressing thanks for a task done but praising or honouring the other for an attitude displayed or a behaviour practiced. Such as attending to one's grooming (combing the hair, brushing the teeth, using deodorant), being respectful, and initiating acts of kindness like taking grandpa for a walk without having to be told. 


Effective communication is important for a healthy and healing family. Communication includes listening and understanding each other. Not rushing the other when they speak; not jumping to conclusions before hearing the whole story and trying to understand where the person is before judging and criticizing. Too often children complain that parents don’t listen to them. Listening doesn’t mean shouting and throwing things when angry and insisting that your position is right. Listening doesn’t mean one has to agree, but it helps to understand. Jesus by listening to the woman at the well learned a lot about her and she also about Him.

Communication conveys respect. Respect is not a right of the elders but a responsibility of all family members and this is where adults can model for children, what is appropriate in how they relate to each other. Communication is not manipulating, bribing, or ignoring others to get cooperation or to have your way. No, it is to listen with respect and to realize that the other person has a voice and needs to express that voice.


The final of many things I could say is balance. Balance in managing money, time, work, school, church, and family time together. Parents must be careful that they don’t use money to buy the love and affection of their children. Teaching proper use of money and the value of budgeting can be important life lessons for children and adults in a family relationship.

There must be balance in the use of time for work, school, social activities, worship, and sharing with the family. Healthy and growing families make time to interact with one another. Whether it is doing an activity with them, that they like, or learning to take breaks from electronic gadgets and setting boundaries, where these are out of bounds when the family is together.


I believe some of these qualities were evident in Miss Gardner’s family. They allowed her to heal and develop her potential.

Indiscipline, abuse, deception, and lack of respect for others are not accidents but aberrations of a healthy growing family. Partners must practice healthy faithful relationships, which builds trust and offers a model for children. Parents must practice intentional parenting, consider the outcomes they want, and make the necessary inputs. Children will test the boundaries set by good parents, but they need firmness and respect, consistency, trust, and support.