My three-year-old son loves to argue with me. About anything, really. He once threw a tantrum on the way home from the store because I wouldn’t let him drive the car. It doesn’t matter that he’s three or that his feet can’t reach the gas or the brake. He’s now claiming he’s 37 years old because the fewer people older than him, the happier he seems to be. He frequently claims he was never a baby or ever small, which I’ve never heard of anybody doing before. Even Jesus was a baby, I remind him.

My wife says he told a woman at the store recently that he’s in high school when she asked him about his age. My wife says it’s because he’s a type 8 Enneagram, and all the stories and antics don’t end there. 

My five-year-old son randomly came up to me the other day and asked if he was getting all my money when I die. I didn’t have the heart to tell them there wasn’t enough to worry about at this moment in his life. He then asked my wife, “Why did God make mosquitos?” The correct answer is related to the fall of mankind, but my wife said that’s a great question to ask God himself. He then quipped, “Since you’re going to die first, will you ask him for me?” 

My wife and I are going to have a third boy sometime in October, and it’s a bit nerve-wracking because it’s so much responsibility and work. I don’t always do the best job as a parent, but I’m never short on love for my kids. My parents did such a great job providing and being generous to me. How can I do any less for my children? I can’t imagine life without any of them, and I always pray for parents who have lost a child. I don’t understand it, but my heart genuinely aches for them. 

The John Locke Foundation says it envisions a state with strong families. It’s likely the most important word under the “Locke’s Vision” section on the website. After all, strong families are a requirement for a healthy society.

“The family is the fountainhead of all mental and moral influence,” declared the famous abolitionist Frederik Douglass. 

It’s pointless to argue for a free society without strong families. It’s akin to preaching motorcycle safety while riding around without a helmet on your head. 

If the family is in disorder, it will automatically mean more centralized power for the state. Weak families create greater dependency on the government. That’s why the statists and Marxists love tearing apart the family. It rips apart the greatest buffer between the individual and the state. When the moral character of the family declines, so does the state of our political affairs. 

“The family is the human race’s natural defense against utopianism,” declared American Enterprise Institute Scholar Michael Novak (1933-2017).

I’m thankful for my children every day. I don’t understand a society that can discard the lives of the innocent in our midst. Children are the greatest blessing you can receive and only an inconvenience when you focus on the self above all else.

The family is where children receive the greatest moral instruction and it’s where parents are sanctified as well. I’m a better person today because of my kids. I continually learn more about how to model grace and forgiveness. I see the Parable of the Prodigal Son in new ways. The bonus is that I’m constantly entertained, and I laugh at all the daily absurdities. At the same time, I’m continually reminded that raising my boys is the most important vocation and ministry in my life. 

As a society, we can’t advance beyond the family as the most basic social structure for healthy communities and nation. Reliance on markets or even the Constitution alone is never enough to secure our freedom and rights.

Renewal for a truly healthy society begins and ends with the family. We should never forget that simple truth when we see the family under attack daily by the forces that crave its destruction.

Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor and Second Amendment research fellow at the John Locke Foundation.