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The family is the “pay it forward” system

By February 17, 2022February 19th, 2022Marriage and Family, Uncategorized

Christ our Life Iowa

by Tom Quiner

Holy families are built on a foundation of faith with God at its center. The commitment of a sacramental marriage is its bricks and mortar, leading to more fulfilling long term family-life.

Why is the family important? Dr. Peter Kreeft reflected on this question in this excerpt from “Food for the Soul: Reflections on the Mass Readings:”

“The family is the single most important institution on earth. All the happiest, most peaceful, and most enduring societies in history have had a deep respect for the family. It is the first place where we learn life’s most important lesson: unselfish love, the love that consists in the gift of your very self and life to others.  Each of us came into this world only because two other persons did that: laid down their lives for us.  The family is the “pay it forward” system. No can possibly give their parents the gift their parents gave them — the gift of life.  We cannot pay back that debt, so we pay it forward to our children. That is the rationale behind God’s invention of the family.”

Dr Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and author of over 80 books on Christian philosophy, theology, and apologetics.

Dr. Kreeft continues:

“The family is the first school, where we learn genuine, honest love and care for the good of others.  Everywhere else, you are loved for what you can do, for your performance, whether in the workplace or in the entertainment industry or in sports.  But in your family, you are loved for yourself; you are loved simply because you belong to them, and they belong to you. Outside the walls of your home, you are loved because you perform; inside, you are loved just because you exist.”

This is a big idea. Married family life works much better than unmarried family life at conveying a sense of self-worth in children. It seems to be a much, much better ‘school’ than other competing models, according to sociologists. Married fathers particularly are important to the outcomes of children, according to, which sites data from the Census Bureau and the HHS, as well as other sources.

Poverty, abuse, drug use, behavior issues, and suicide all plummet in children living in homes with married moms and dads. At the same time, academic achievement soars.

Dr. Kreeft identifies four elements that seem to be key in holding families together and producing the outcomes described above:

“Honor and authority, piety and respect are the glue that holds a family together, and therefore a whole society together.  The family is even more basic than the Church because it came before the Church; the God who designed the Church first designed families in the Garden of Eden.”

Just how important are honor, authority, piety, and respect? Kreeft provides an interesting answer:

“The five societies that have had the longest and most successful life span in human history have all had a high regard for the family:  Jewish, Christian, Confucian, Islamic, and ancient Roman.”

Married family life has an incredible track record. Talk about a “pay it forward” system! Why is its popularity in such sharp decline? Why do so many women and their mates reject parenting and choose abortion instead? There are many reasons. Dr. Kreeft provides one:

“Parenting is the most demanding job in the world.  It is at once the most joyful and the most heartbreaking because the more you invest your love in another person the more that investment is returned with life’s deepest joys and life’s deepest sorrows.  If you want to avoid a broken heart, you must not give your heart to anyone. There is a condition that fits that description. It is called hell.”

The Holy Family Webinar Series

The Holy Family Webinar Series

Marriage, children, and a beautiful home life create a slice of heaven on earth. That’s why Pulse Life Advocates has created The Holy Family Webinar series, which makes the case for life, marriage, and family. This 4-part webinar will launch on Sunday, March 6th at 7pm.

Special guests include:

  • Bishop William Joensen
  • Bill Donaghy from Theology of the Body Institute
  • Dr. Ray Guarendi from EWTN
  • Joe Stopulos from Iowa Catholic Radio

We encourage you to register today to be notified with details.

Help us promote the ultimate “pay it forward” system in history. REGISTER NOW