As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 44
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 5: Loving Families Can Change the World
The Peaceful Family Is the Building Block of Heaven, pg 157-158
The Peaceful Family Is the Building Block of Heaven
Many Western people live truly lonely lives. Their children leave home once they turn eighteen, and the parents may only get to see their faces at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Many children never visit their parents just to find out how they are doing. Once people marry, they live with their spouse, independent from their family, until their parents become so old they can no longer take care of themselves. At that point, they move their parents into a nursing home.
So it is understandable that some Westerners envy the culture of the East. Many elderly people in the West think, “In the East, the grandparents live in the family as the senior members of the family, and it is really wonderful. The children respect their old parents. This is how people are supposed to live. What good is it to be lying in a nursing home, not able to see my children, not even knowing what day it is, just staying alive?”
Unfortunately, though, the Eastern family structure is also gradually deteriorating. We, too, are abandoning traditions that have been handed down to us for thousands of years. We have thrown away our traditional clothing, our food, and our family structure. The number of senior citizens living alone in Korea is on the rise. Each time I see stories in the news of senior citizens alone, it makes me sad. The family is where generations live together. If family members are scattered, and the parents are left alone, then that is no longer a family. The extended family system is a beautiful Korean tradition.
I recommend that three generations live together as one family. This is not simply because it is a way of maintaining our country’s tradition. When a husband and wife have a child, they pass on all they can to that child. There is a limit, however, to how much the parents can pass on. The parents represent the present and the children the future. The grandparents represent the past. So it is only when the grandparents, parents, and children live together that the children can inherit all the fortune of the past and present. To love and respect your grandfather is to inherit the history of the past and to learn from the world of the past. The children learn precious wisdom from their parents on how to live in the present, while the parents prepare for the future by loving their children.
The grandparents are in a position to represent God. No matter how intelligent a young man may be, he cannot know all the secrets of this big world. Young people cannot know all the different secrets of life that come to us as we grow older. This is the reason the grandfather represents the history of the family. The grandfather is a precious teacher who passes on to the grandchildren all the wisdom he has acquired through the experiences he has accumulated during the course of his life.
The world’s oldest grandfather is God. So a life of receiving the grandfather’s love and of living for the sake of the grandfather is a life of coming to understand God’s love and of living for His sake. We need to maintain such a tradition in order to open the secret storehouse of God’s Kingdom and receive His treasure of love. Any country that ignores its old people abandons its national character and ignores its roots. When autumn comes, the chestnut tree gradually loses its moisture, and its leaves begin to fall. The outer shell of the chestnut falls off, and even the inner shell that surrounds the actual nut dries up. This is the cycle of life. Human beings are the same way. We are born as infants, grow up in the love of our parents, meet a wonderful partner, and get married. All this occurs in the chain of life made up of love. In the end, we become like chestnuts drying up in the autumn. Old people are not a separate category of people. We all become old. We must not treat old people disrespectfully, no matter how senile they may become.
There is a saying, “Anything can be accomplished when there is harmony in the home.” When there is peace in the family, everything goes well. The peaceful family is the building block of the Kingdom of Heaven. The family operates on the power of love. If we love the universe as we love our families, then there is nothing to stop us from going anywhere we want. God exists in the center of love, as the Parent of the entire universe. That is why the love in the family needs to link directly to God. When the family is completed in love, the universe will be completed.