Opinion by Manning Pastor Sam Livingston: The importance of family in 2021


The new year is going to be a year of great importance as far as the family is concerned. This is the year of family renewal and restoration. It will not happen automatically; each family member will have to put forth a tremendous amount of effort. The ambient environmental conditions will force families to pull together for survival within key areas of their lives.

The years ahead will be uniquely different with unusual pressures on the family unit. To thrive, maximum productivity of each family member will have to become the norm. Families will continue to fall into despair moving closer and closer to the have nots and poverty. We must move back to the time when family members respect, fear and obey parents. This is not a governmental mandate it is a kingdom mandate. This is not a journey to visit our past; it must become a continuous way of life once again. I'm reminded of the parting message that Joshua wrote, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your father served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

I challenged my family to write a section pertaining to their roles in our family unit.

Words from My Wife

In 2020, our family went through trying times. As a mother, wife and grandmother, sometimes I had to smile and laugh to keep from crying. My children and grandchildren see me as a loving, kind person, and they know I will speak up for what is right. In 2021, I will be there for my family and continue to put them ahead of myself when necessary. We will need to show our family it is better to give than to receive. The more we bless others, the more blessings we will receive. Children see us make sacrifices, pray, have faith and make a little go a long way. Children will say, "My mom listens to me, my mom will fix it, and my mom loves God." To keep our family together in 2021, we must continue to pray, fast, help others and lead the way as mothers, wives and grandmothers. We must listen to our families and not talk over them, just as God listens to us as we pray. 2021 is a year we will see progress, togetherness, empathy and love.

Words from My Son

2020 has been a year in which things that seemed unimaginable came to pass on a daily basis. While some have viewed this year as one to forget, my wife and I have viewed it as one that we are most grateful for. This year has been a reminder of how important family is. The pandemic, along with the other events, have reminded us that in an ever-changing society, there are two things that must remain unchanged - your faith and your family. We have taken this time to make sure our house is in order and that we are all on one accord. My wife and I have reminded our kids that friends will come and go, but the love of their family is everlasting. As fathers, we will be called upon now more than ever, to not only be the head of our households, but to be forward thinkers. Making the correct decisions will set our families up for success in 2021 and beyond. Yes, 2020 has been a rough year, but if we are completely honest with ourselves, 2021 will be even tougher! With faith in God and the constant support of your family, all things are possible.

Words from My Daughter

Although many people see daughters and sisters as members of the family who are spoiled rotten or in need of constant protection, we make significant, and incomparable, contributions to our families. Daughters and sisters are able to see things that other members of the family may overlook or may not deem a threat. We gather essential information and disseminate it to the family to prevent or repair harm. We are also fighters. How will these characteristics be applied in 2021? We will have to continue looking ahead and proclaiming what we know is on the way in order to make sure our families are prepared to weather certain storms. We will have to reassure them that 2021 is not the time to let their guards down. Daughters and sisters must continue to unite members of the family. Because we have much to do, we must remember that we can't do anything if we are not alive. As daughters and sisters, we must prioritize rest, care and nourishment for ourselves. In 2021, we must love ourselves as hard as we love our families.

I challenge each of you to examine your family practices and make improvements.

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.