Cultural Corner: The Family

The most effective Hispanic church plants are those that consider the cultural context of those who are being reached. One of the most important aspects to understand about the Hispanic culture is their high regard for family. The following article deals with this subject.

“Hispanics are familistic. La Familia is very important. It is the main unit in the Hispanic community, superseding church, political parties, or any other group. Traditionally, the Hispanic family is a close-knit group and the most important social unit. The term familia usually goes beyond the nuclear family. The Hispanic “family unit” is characterized by strong and close bonds that include not only parents and children but also extended family and may include non-family members who are treated as family by virtue of long standing associations.
In most Hispanic families, the father is the head of the family, and the mother is responsible for the home. Individuals within a family have a moral responsibility to aid other members of the family experiencing financial problems, unemployment, poor health conditions, and other life issues. A problem of one family member becomes the concern of the whole family. The “macho philosophy” permeates the Hispanic community and in many cases is dominant in the home. While it is true that families recognize the father/husband as the total authority, they look to the wife/mother for counsel.
Family ties are very strong: when someone travels to another town or city to study or for a short visit (e.g., vacation, business, medical reasons), staying with relatives or even with friends of relatives is a common practice. Families often gather together to celebrate holidays, birthdays, baptisms, first communions, graduations, and weddings. Hispanic families instill in their children the importance of honor, good manners, and respect for authority and the elderly. Preserving the Spanish language within the family is a common practice in most Hispanic homes.”
Copied with permission from Hispanic Ministry in the Carolinas.