The Myths of the Traditional Family

Speaker: Categories: Sep 14, 1991


[55min, 59sec / 56min, 51sec]


Do you remember those reading primers you first encountered in school? Do you remember Dick and Jane, Mother and Father, and, perhaps, Baby Sally. Of course, there was also Spot (the dog) and Puff (the cat). That was the traditional family. In fact, for many of us, that was the only family we experienced.

And then there was the kids' Sabbath School with more of the typical family. We (and our kids) sang about it:

"With Jesus in the family, Happy, happy home . . .

"With Daddy in the family . . .

"With Mommy in the family . . ." etc.

But there were those other kids - the kids down several blocks in the "poorer section" of town - who didn't have that kind of family structure. Their families were different, unlike ours, atypical. So, we felt sorry for them and, perhaps, weren't permitted to play with them because . . .

Our September speaker suggests that the "role of the church has traditionally been to uphold families and strengthen them." But there are those myths associated with the traditional family, myths which may get in the way of doing that "upholding" and that "strengthening."

"The hurting of families is as old as time," Dr. Bryan affirms. "Adam and Eve were good parents, and yet one of their sons was a murderer. The history of family system theory is fraught with ideas about the "ideal" family." He proposes to look at how those family systems have become dysfunctional in their psychological and theological roles. He observes further that before there were therapists there were philosophers and poets!

Dr. Bryan proposes that some of the arrears to be probed in the September 14 meeting will examine the cross cultural family myths and "how that parents (the church as either mother or father) empowers or discounts its family members."

He will also explore how the "role model, the church, teaches theological realities of perfectionism and how these realities differ between myth and goal."


Dr. Bryan, a Walla Walla alumnus, earned master’s degrees at Andrews and International College. His Ph.D. was completed at California Graduate School of Theology.

He has served in teaching and chaplain roles in SDA institutions as well as others. He has lectured widely on the West Coast. He has served as a missionary in South America for five years. He is a licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor and is bilingual.

His rich experience background will add much to the information shared September 14.

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