It is true that the basic unit of society is the nuclear or intact family comprising a father, mother and children. The family is a microcosm of the nation. Therefore, if we want to have a strong nation, we must endeavour to build a strong family. It is also true that strong families make strong communities, and strong communities result in strong nations.
The family is the single most important institution of a nation and the basic building block of any society. Therefore, it is the responsibility of those in authority to ensure that the family receives the greatest care and respect at all times. Everything of value can be found in the order of families. However, failure and calamity invariably resulted when the family values and systems broke down.
The role of the family in society should not be taken for granted. Neither should the family be overlooked in the pursuit of community and national development because it is supposed to be the raison d’etre of development and growth. The family is the foundation which makes human development possible.
However, most of the problems Guyana is currently experiencing are due to the breakdown of the family.
Guyana cannot afford to ignore the family in the nation-building process. To do so would be short-sighted and even ridiculous. Studies done in a number of countries over the years show that the nuclear family structure has played key roles in determining outcomes, not just for family members, but also for the nation as a whole.
For example, on average, married couples enjoy larger incomes, higher net worth, and greater year-on-year increases in net worth. Their children enjoy a better environment; less poverty and more economic mobility than any other group. The children also have better educational outcomes than children living in single parent households. They may even have higher IQs and tend to have better employment prospects when they enter the workforce.
The nuclear family is critical to the early stages of child development, especially in the first eight years when the personality of a child is formed.
The family is where the minds of individuals are first developed and shaped to play their role as responsible, decent and law abiding citizens in society. All the essential character qualities such as interpersonal relationships, skills, work ethic, personal discipline and self-control are taught and guided by families.
Whenever the family unit is dismantled, the nation would be at risk; crime and violence would likely escalate which means that we would be much better off if we were to protect, promote and elevate the family structure.
The family provides the natural place where the emotional and material needs of the population should be met without putting a strain on government resources. Where family structure is missing, or where single-parent family structures dominate, greater social benefits and state intervention are needed to help them cope.
The family has and continues to play a significant role in predicting outcomes for children. Factors such as educational attainment, income levels, emotional stability, and the likelihood of engaging in crime or experiencing teenage pregnancy are all significantly linked to the family. For the most part, the nuclear family has produced the best societal outcomes while other family structures have led to some of the worst results in society.
The results of the recent Grade Six examinations would show that most of the top performers came from nuclear family households. The parents were there for the children every step of the way. In other cases parents had to seek low level employment thus leaving children to their own devices.
Effective policies should be put in place with incentives to support and strengthen the family. Attaining a solid future for the nation will rest heavily on whether we as a people can elevate the family to its rightful place in society.
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