My father is an oyster farmer. I have spent thousands of hours working closely with him on the oyster farm and we have never discovered a pearl! Well, that is at least partly because the species of oyster he farms is not one that cultivates pearls except once in few tens of millions of oysters, but nevertheless we have discovered a different pearl that is worth far more than anything that an oyster can produce – our relationship as father and son. There is something healthy about working together with one’s father where there has to be mutual trust or someone can get seriously hurt or even killed. The mutual respect that has grown between my father and myslef over the years of work is something that endures up to now even though it is 25 years since I have worked in an extended manner with him on the oyster farm.

Our relationships with our parents are something to be treasured, respected and enjoyed. Too often the busyness of life and the demands of economic reality lead to a weakening in the familial ties to the point that they are sometimes lost! This is a tremendous loss for both the individual and society! If the family unit is weakened, society is weakened. If the family unit collapses it will not be long before this is felt within society as well.

We see the results of family breakdown in society today in terms of the lack of respect children have for their elders, the lack of responsibility in various sectors of society, drugs, alcoholism and other extreme forms of behavior. We can throw all the money that we want at these problems looking for solutions but the solutions will only come with a strengthening of the family unit to the point that relationships within families are functioning properly and thus instilling the necessary formation into children that will stand them in good stead for later life.

How well do I treasure the relationships within my family? Do I put enough effort into making them grow and developing them in healthy and sustainable ways?

Holy Spirit, help me to see the treasure each member of my family is, even those I do not get along so well with such that I will work harder at developing them.