They say the future is female, but I ask myself whether that is not a sexist’s point of view. We live in times where the sex of the future is not the primary concern but whether the future is there. The most fundamental institution of our communities is heading south and could lose its essence if this trend is not reverted. Yes, you heard that right; lose its importance in the community. Believe me, and I am the least paranoid person, so that you can bank on me!

The family is the most primary institution of the community, and it is the community’s future. Oh! You, too, thought the future was female? No, the future is family! The family is slowly but surely drowning in the sea of economic difficulties, climate change, poverty, and conflict. These are the things that are choking the life out of the future of our communities.

Isn’t there a lifeline we could throw the family to keep it above water and maybe preserve its life and essence? Wait, we’ve thrown the family a couple of lifelines to keep it above water. We have climate restoration projects, and financial empowerment is the day’s talk about curbing poverty and the effect of difficult economic times. Haven’t we done enough? What more could the family want to stay afloat?

Peace! That is what’s more. How is the family equipped in matters of conflict resolution? All difficulties have the potential of becoming fuel for conflict at the family level. Be it change, poverty, difficult economic times, insecurity, or mental health issues. We learn our first conflict resolution lesson at the family level, and we pass those lessons to future generations that form future communities. If we make a mistake, that mistake is passed on to future generations, and in the long run, this results in communities with unstable peace.

Peace in the family will result in peace at the community level, and in the long run, global peace will be achieved. Consequently, a community that thrives in peace is assured of a future. Suppose we want to envision a peaceful future in reality. In that case, we must recognize the importance of empowering families in peacebuilding (Charles Lee Cole Ph.D. and Martha A. Reuter, in their paper, The Family Peace Connection: Implications for Constructing the Reality of the Future).

Peacebuilding is the least explored lifeline for ensuring the future of the community. Suppose we want future generations to live as well as the present ones. In that case, it is about time we consider peacebuilding at the family level, having the community’s future in mind.

By Caroline Mutuku

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