Genesis 2:18, 21-24
For the last several years I have contemplated what "family" meant. Stop and think for a moment about the word "family." What immediately comes to mind? Many people go directly to the poster image of a mother and father with their daughter and son. Some families may include a single child or more than two, some may be all girls or all boys, or a mix. Whatever the case may be, you'll rarely, if ever, hear someone say "a husband and wife." I think about how often Wes and I feel excluded from various "family" activities...family days at whatever location, family photos in which only parents with their children get that special picture while we look on and think "maybe if I hold the camera with this hand and in this position, we'll be able to get a picture of ourselves together," and the list goes on. Dictionary.com has the first definition of family listed as parents with their children. Merriam-Webster first defines a family as "a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head." I like M-W's definition a lot more, not only because it doesn't define it as having children, but also defines it as being under one head. Talk about a biblical approach, in spite of it being a dictionary!
I've been thinking about the above passage in Genesis and how the real first family came to be. God realized that it was not good for Adam to be alone, that he needed someone. So does God put Adam to sleep and POOF! there's his wife and kids? No! He creates a wife for him...and that's it. Adam is now complete. Adam didn't need kids for God to know that the situation was now perfect. And the passage doesn't go on to say, "but Eve felt incomplete and desired children in order to become a family." Again, no! They already were a family! Notice that kids didn't enter the picture until sin did... Ok, please don't twist my words there, I am not saying that kids are a result of sin and anyone who has children are sinning...what a laugh that is! But what I am trying to point out is that so many people miss the fact that Adam and Eve were already complete before kids entered the picture. It's not like God saw them as any less of a family and thought them incomplete. If that were the case, I doubt Eve would have been the only one created when He put Adam to sleep.
Wes and I may never have children. It's a reality we have to face. But we are no less a family. So when you're organizing a family event for something, perhaps think of activities that the not often thought of family groups can participate in. When you're snapping family portraits, ask the husband and wife family if they'd like one too. If you have some sort of family support group, maybe include a small group for the families that don't have children. Just think of ways where the childless ones can feel included.
We're a family too. Dictionary.com may not say so, but the Bible definitely does.
Photo by Kara Guffey