What Is a Family?
Editor’s note: The folks at Insider Online recently interviewed Tim Sisarich, the director and narrator of Irreplaceable, a new documentary examining the state of the family in the world today — here is an excerpt.
The film, produced by Focus on the Family, will be screened in movie theaters around the country on May 6. We had the opportunity to talk with Sisarich about the film.
Insider Online: Why do we need a documentary about the family?
Tim Sisarich: When families thrive, individuals and society thrive. Few would argue that families are thriving, and we need to know why. The state of the family affects every person on this planet.
Over the past 40 to 50 years, we’ve seen a great deal of change in the world. A lot of it has been good, especially in terms of medical and technological advancements. But nearly all of the changes in how families are formed—or not formed—have been harmful to human thriving, especially for children. We wanted to take people on a journey to understand why families are so important for individuals and society.
IO: Why should we care what the culture has to say about the family?
TS: What the culture says about family is simply a reflection of our collective worldview. If we don’t understand just how vital the family—and especially God’s design for it—is to holding society together, our nation will crumble.
The statistics related to fatherlessness drive this powerfully home. When children grow up without a dad in the home, they’re two to three times more likely to do poorly in school and drop out, become a victim of domestic violence, be arrested for criminal behavior, get pregnant outside marriage, and be involved in drug use. They’re also nearly guaranteed to live some part of their childhood in poverty.
Family structure matters. Because we care about the people involved, we can’t ignore what culture has to say about families when it leads to brokenness.
IO: Did anything surprise you in your investigation?
TS: I knew family was important, but it surprised me was how pragmatically vital it is. It’s not just a matter of the heart, but really drives the wellbeing and health of a nation like nothing else. I saw this again and again in my travels and from all the experts we talked to.
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