Shifting the Paradigm of Family

Shifting the Paradigm of Family

Family is about relationship. It is about investing time in other people. It involves supporting and encouraging each other. It takes sacrifice. It fosters mutual admiration and inspiration.

And family does not only refer to blood relatives.

Last week I attended Paradigm Shift’s celebration evening. It was a brief time of reflecting on how entrepreneurs, volunteer trainers and mentors had grown together. I was so struck by the incredible cohesion of relationships that has been developed in this small community. Meeting for a journey of business training and discipleship for an hour once a week, on and off, for the last year, this group of individuals describe themselves as a family. All – entrepreneurs and volunteers alike – talk of what they have learnt from each other. They describe being lifted up and supported. They feel true connection and care. They know that this is a group that they can trust. They have all invested time and have been vulnerable to some extent, and in the process, God has truly created a family.

This reflection has caused me to think deeply on family and my experience of it. Something that I am sitting with after this experience is the possibility that family might be a decision. It is not something you just have or belong to… it is something you need to work for and commit to. The bonds of connection, care and empathy are by-products that God will bless you with after you have made a decision and committed to be in family. Human beings crave belonging and the ultimate effect of our sin is to separate us from God and each other. Belonging is a blessing from God. I am becoming more and more challenged by the need for me to actively work to create family – within my blood one, as well as the other groups to which I belong. Belonging is an act of vulnerability, sacrifice and courage that allows us to open up and become involved deeply enough in a group that we might call it a family.

On the outside, it would seem that the entrepreneurs, volunteers and mentors of Paradigm Shift have little in common. Last week demonstrated that this is not the case. They ‘found’ each other across many social barriers and discovered: you are more like me than I thought. They committed to relationship, to forging a new family together.   And I am freshly filled with hope for my desperately divided city. And I am stirred to take my own steps in building a new family.

This post was written by
Leigh is wife to Steve and mother to little Amy. She's the Common Good activator for Common Ground Constantiaberg AM, Constantiaberg PM and Wynberg congregations.

3 Comments on "Shifting the Paradigm of Family"

  • Alida Mabeya says

    Truly amazing how my husband, Cosmas and I have found family in our home group ( Sally and Tony Bunn). I am battling a little with my siblings so this rings so very true for me and has been a huge blessing in our lives since we joined Common Ground.

  • Jill Mackaill says

    Thank you Leigh for your insightful reflection on this topic. Jill

  • Virata Jugoo says

    Such a great article Leigh. Loved reading that!

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