IN a recent film, Boyz N the Hood, Doughboy is an ex-convict whose future is bleak, while his half-brother Ricky, is being recruited for a college football career. Why the difference? One explanation given is that their mother loves Ricky more than Doughboy because they have different fathers.Half- and step-relationships aren't always troublesome. But the partiality and hurt feelings that sometimes accompany them can be wrenching. Even "full relationships aren't immune to friction. Is there a way to bring greater harmony to family life? A sure starting point, I've found, is to gain a clearer understanding of the one relationship that matters more than any other, the one that, in reality, ultimately governs our lives. This is the unbreakable relationship that exists between God as the divine Parent and man as God's spiritual offspring. The Bible shows that, in truth, man is created by God, Spirit, in His image and likeness. And the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, assures us, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. In reality, then, we all have the same Father--Spirit, God. Jesus so fully demonstrated man's divine sonship that he is called Christ Jesus. To be "joint-heirs with Christ is to glimpse the truth that God is the Father of all. It's to recognize something of our divine right to the permanent, spiritual heritage of good that God continuously gives His children. Because God is divine Love, this heritage belongs to all impartially and without limit. Our blessed status as heirs can't be taken away. It's inseparable from man's genuine, God-created selfhood. But the heartbreak of unhappy family relationships demands that we affirm the truth of God's divine parenthood steadfastly through prayer and then strive to live this prayer. This offers more than temporary or superficial soothing of family trouble. It's a powerful help in confronting consistently the notion that happiness depends on a complex web of human relationships. Doing this takes persistent effort. But when we start to look first to God, family dealings can become less tense and more loving. In my own case, relying more on God and His love helped to lessen unrealistic demands and expectations. Family relations improved for me as I accepted more of the truth that in reality each one has a direct relationship with God as His loved offspring. This spiritual relationship--not human will or personality--is what truly governs and unites a family. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, certainly recognized the practical effects of understanding that God is man's true Parent. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes, "Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation. In God's family--which is man's true family--all have one divine Parent; all share equally in Spirit's infinite good. The tender caring of our all-loving Father-Mother God is completely just and all-embracing. As we begin to understand more of this truth, it has a positive, redeeming effect on our family relations. And as our thoughts and lives conform more fully to the spiritual reality, we can begin to give up regret or anxiety over any prefixhalf, "step, or "full--whether it is attached to parent, child, or sibling.