Nikki 070When I was in third grade, I started playing Jr. Jazz. I was pretty excited—I’d get a cool jersey (that fit like a dress), a trophy for participation (gold!), and treats after every game. Those were the things that initially motivated me to play. As I continued to play, however, I realized that I actually really liked basketball.

And not just because of the Rice Krispy treats after every game. I genuinely enjoyed running and shooting and dribbling and passing and defending and blocking and rebounding. Which meant I kept playing. For seven years I played competitive — okay, and non-competitive — basketball. Throughout these years I had several different coaches, all of them superb. They each had a different coaching style, but invariably they each had us work on our shot every single day.

Those of you who play sports, perform music, or practice another such hobby won’t be surprised at this: “Of course, you would practice your shot every day,” you say. “It’s a fundamental. If you can’t shoot, you can’t win.” Right you are, my friend. Shooting is a fundamental skill in basketball. It is foundational. It is critical. It is required if you are to win.

The same might be said about families.

It has been said that families are the building block of society. I must be honest — I have no expert social scientist’s exact words to back up this assertion, but in the next series of posts we’ll look at why families might be considered foundational, critical, even required for the success of society. In this particular post we’ll look at one reason why families are so important for society:

Families teach about and help you develop attributes that build society.

I remember growing up in a home where if I said I was going to do something, I had better do it. Church activities, sports practices, piano lessons, cleaning my room – if I had committed to go or do I had better do and go. I watched my siblings experience the same thing because I had parents who expected us to fulfill our commitments. They taught by example. I learned that reliability is a precious attribute.

I have a friend who remembers that her mother never just sat around. She was always doing something productive: making meals for others, weeding, cooking, cleaning. She would spend quality time with her family, but the rest of her time was used in an active, positive ways. She inspired her daughter to do the same. Because of her mother, my friend learned the value of hard work. That is a great strength to society.

Another friend of mine spent her summer vacations with her family; they traveled the world together with only each other for company. She learned the value of building strong relationships. Helping others can only contribute to a strong society.

I am sure many of you learned and developed tons of other attributes that might contribute to society. Of course, a person can gain these attributes through other avenues, but the family is ideally positioned to facilitate this growth. The family is absolutely critical for the positive growth of society.

—Jessica Neilson, Stance