A friend once flattered my brother and me by commenting that we were “salt of the earth” people.
When he asked about the environment in which we were raised relative to his compliment, I said the first thing that came to my mind: I told him that we were raised in a salty environment.
It was just a joke at the time, but little did I know how much I would learn about salt and how it relates to families as a result.
The compliment was, of course, referring to the words spoken by the master teacher Jesus Christ who said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”
Christ also makes a strange request in the book of Mark, where he directs his disciples to “Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”
These phrases and the conversation with my friend led me to research salt, with the purpose to answer the following questions:
- What are the qualities of salt that lend themselves to Christ’s parables?
- Why should we become like salt?
- Most importantly, what can salt teach us about raising a family?
Putting aside your justifiable doubts about me being “salt of the earth,” I hope you’re as fascinated as I have been by my findings about the connections between salt and families.
I found that salt provides savor, preserves, balances and regulates, cleans, heals, and restores, all of which coincide with the purposes of the institution of family in society.
Salt provides savor, giving bland food flavor, and toning down excessively rich or sweet foods.
Within the family bond we find the spice of life: the joy of discovery, the richness of intimate relationships, the miracle of birth and the wonder of growth, the support of compassion, the guide of loving correction, and the fulfillment of necessary change and repentance.
Family enhances the blandness of puritanism and tones down the danger of hedonism.
Salt is the earliest known preservative, and tribal societies used it to preserve and store meat and fish.
Like salt, ideal families preserve values, traditions, ideals, history, and culture.
It is primarily in the family that we learn how to function in and contribute to society, as well as learn the things that destroy society.
Thus, preservation is necessary for perpetuation, and families provide both for society.
Balance & Regulate
The body needs sodium to regulate blood pressure, blood volume, water balance and cell function.
Families also balance and regulate society by providing a safe environment for family members to explore and create without creativity degenerating into anarchy, and to recognize order and structure, without form degenerating into tyranny.
Salt regulates and balances body fluids; family regulates and balances the societal fluid of philosophy and direction.
The chemical chlorine, used to keep swimming pools clean and treat municipal water, is derived from salt, and scientists are discovering even better and safer ways to process salt used for cleaning water and other substances.
Families, when operated effectively, also have a cleaning effect on citizens. Nurturing mothers and caring fathers safeguard children from harmful media and substances, keeping them clean and giving them strength to resist temptation when they venture into society on their own.
Salt aids in the reconstruction of blood and tissues, and is therefore a necessary element of healing wounds.
When individual family members become wounded by wrong actions, injurious habits, harsh words and other abuse, the family is there to uplift, encourage, inspire, and heal.
Gatorade has become so popular because it provides electrolytes, which help the body recover from fatigue and exertion. Electrolytes are derived from sodium, a fundamental element of salt.
Every society loses direction, stumbles, and degenerates in time.
Healthy families, who have preserved the society’s history, ideals, values, and traditions through education, become the primary factor in restoring societies who have temporarily lost their way.
Transformational families raise transformational children who are able to transform society from within.
The qualities and functions of salt provide an extraordinarily applicable analogy to the institution of family.
Families, when understood deeply and nurtured carefully, can be “salt factories” that produce men and women who provide savor to, preserve, balance and regulate, clean, heal, and restore society.
Is your family a salt factory? Are you providing a “salty” environment of love, trust, respect, inspiration, guidance, and cleanliness?
Strive to do so, for society depends primarily on your efforts within the walls of your own home.