Globalization Impacts Family
Dr. J. N. Manokaran
Globalization is an irreversible process. It is an integration of ideas, people, economy, knowledge and culture. It is not a new process, but an old one that has gained great momentum during recent times. Amartya Sen, the Nobel Laureate writes, “Over thousands of years, globalization has progressed through travel, trade, migration, spread of cultural influences and dissemination of information (including science and technology.)” Globalisation can be described as reduction of time-space; as integration of national economies into a ‘global economy’, as creation of new sub-culture as fed by the common diet of TV, films, music and advertising. Richard Tiplady writes, “Globalization describes the way in which ideas and structures that circulate globally are adapted and changed by local realities.” That means that the global ideas are adapted into local pragmatic ideas.
Thomas L. Friedman states that there are three great eras of globalization. Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus were the pioneers in Globalization 1 in which the countries explored new areas around the globe, which began in 1400s, and it ended with the World War I. By their daring efforts of exploration and adventure the world shrank the world from “Size Large” to “Size Medium”. The infinite distance and unexplored space became manageable distance and space.
Then came Globalization 2.0 that began with World War II right up until the year 2000. And it really intensified from 1980 until 2000. It shrank the world from “Size Medium” to “Size Small”. The industrial revolution, mass transport systems like railways shrunk the world. The ways of communications like telegraph, telephones, radio helped the process of globalization.
Since Y2K the era of Globalization 3 began which is intensification of everything that was in the previous era. It has effectively shrunk the world from “Size Small” to “Size Tiny”. With technology and market driving the engine of globalization the world has indeed become tiny. Communication through Internet can happen in seconds, travel is not ‘around the world in eighty days’. World is sometimes termed as a “Global Village”.
Impact on Family
There are several dimensions of impact on families. Indeed, it is tough times for Christian families. Here are few such pressures that a Christian family has to face in the Globalized world.
1. Definition for family
In a globalized world, the very idea of family is under attack. God created Adam and Eve as the first couple and established family as an institution based on a covenant. Today, there is biased media and post modern intellectuals who believe God created Adam and Steve. The sacred marriage relationship of man and woman has been redefined by certain governments as between two lovers - both could be males or females.
The Church has to declare that the Governments do not have authority to define what is family as they did not originate that institution. They cannot take the place of God.
Live-in-relationships have become more common in the Globalized world. The covenant of marriage has been reduced to simple temporary contract between individuals without legal or social or spiritual sanction.
The Church has to emphasize the origin, purpose and plan of God with reference to marriage.
2. Parental authority
The parental responisbility, privilege and authority has been undermined in a Globalized world. Absent fathers and unwed mothers are a great problem. Having sex and babies before marriage has brought open the selfish nature of humans. They life to sacrifice babies in the altar of lust instead of abstaining from immoral pre-marital or extra-marital relationships.
Increasingly, the Governments are bringing regulations that forbids disciplining children by parents. Freedom of children is considered superior to parental responsibility of nurturing, mentoring and shaping the character of children. Even in schools, the teachers do not have authority to discipline their students.
3. Source of information
The Globalized world is also experiencing Information era or revolution. Torrents of information flow through Internet. Authentic and authoritative information has been replaced by alternative information sources. The place of parents, teachers, books and experts has been replaced by Internet. Ask Google!
Instead of family values, Google values become the norm in many families. Children do not consider the experience of parents as source of information, but the digital world wonder of Google. Children learn what the parents do not want them to know from Internet.
The Church should not shy away from technology but teach, train, equip the people to make positive use of technology and not be led astray.
4. Addiction to gadgets
The number of gadgets that are considered essential is increasing. Some gadgets have become an extension of a person. It is not that people are simply obsessed with gadgets, there are people who are possessed by gadgets. Staying online 24/7 is reality for many youngsters. Times of India reported on 22 July 2014: "In the post-digital world, here's a first for the capital. Worried over the complete lack of socialization arising out of an internet-driven lifestyle among children, an NGO has launched Delhi's first internet de-addiction centre. The centre operates from the ground floor of a three-storey building in South Delhi's Sarvodaya Enclave, where counsellors and psychologists guide children as young as 10 years old to participate in activities such as indoor games and engage in conversations with each other."
The local church provides an environment where meaningful relationship could be nurtured and shaped. Participating in the local church as family and engaging in the age specific programmes are vital and essential in a globalized world.
5. Impact of media
Media has become more pervasive in the lives of people. The technological revolution of digital process, has multiplied the capacity of media. Now, there are multiple TV channels. Social media also has multiplied. Any individual could act or perform for a global audience. The access also has become cheap. Earlier people had to go out to be involved in sinful or criminal activities. In the digital era, such things enter through screens of phone or tablet. The newspapers and magazines may shun publishing such pictures in their printed version, but do so with impunity in online versions.
Response of Christian family: W.W.W.
Like any other change, globalization also has both positive as well as negative impacts. It is impossible to live in isolation or take ostrich approach that all things are fine. The Word of God, is the double edged sword that provides discernment in the world. (Hebrews 4:12) The Bible provides us the basis or reference or yardstick by which Christians have to examine, evaluate the world. Without in-depth knowledge of the Scripture, Globalization could be a fatal attraction resulting in ruin of our souls.
Christian families should live as witness. The family should be heaven on earth. Many families follow the cultural values, social norms and media trends instead of biblical values. So, there is power struggle, strife, separation and divorces in Christian families. Teaching about family life should be done from the pulpit regularly, at least on those days like: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine Day...etc. Pre-marital counselling, counselling for young couples, families with children and parents of teenagers are essential ministries ought to be provided by the Church.
Christian life is a warfare. Satan is very clever to use all means to deceive people. In the era of Globalization he is hyperactive. As of his nature, it is always traps and Trojans. Christian families should be aware of his evil designs and strategies. (II Cor 2:11) Since, Satan uses Media effectively, Christians should have the skill of Media Literacy. This should be taught even in Sunday Schools for children. Media Literacy would help children to know the right and authentic source of information and will not fall prey to machinations of media hype.
Wake Up Challenge
Globalization is a new reality and inevitable context in which we have to live. It is not about just surviving in this context, but thriving as witness to our Lord in this generation. Many Christians are sleeping like Rip Van Winkle that changes that is happening around us go unnoticed. That makes a Christian community irrelevant to witness to the present generation.