A guest blog article by MoniKea D. Hatten (student, mother, world citizen)
Often, the idea of “family” is based on the bond of blood relatives. However, there is a macro to every micro. The micro is a family unit and the macro is far far bigger. The idea of family is a forgotten topic as it relates to its place in society. Contrary to popular belief, family and unity are very important in our society and both have a powerful influence on our communities and youth collectively; more than we care to think. A sense of family unity gives us all a connection and willingness to help one another and hold each other accountable. Our society not only lost unity but the value of small families. In essence, the unity we once possessed as a nation has been abolished.
A family can range from a single parent – family to an entire community. A family is not only defined by blood but by common environment. In all other classifications of life, a species is grouped into a “family” that shares common environment, cause, and survival habits. A belief that family is only by blood or divided into small groups is a new found myth. Family has been the cornerstone of our civilizations for ages.
Whether we are considering a democratic civilization or a royal monarchy, family has always had a certain degree of power. Key point to think about here is that whenever a civilization has been overthrown and enslaved the first target has been to separate the families. This is strategic and has good reason. We as a nation can relate with the “Jim Crow” laws that instructed to separate the men from their families.
If our society did not shun the mere idea of unity and togetherness that we once had, we as a people would be able to survive in the most admirable way possible and success would be obtainable for the youth. Given, families are torn and the communities are torn. No examples for the youth and no village to raise the youth and no pieces can be found to fix what has been broken.
I am reminded of the civil rights movement. During that period, blacks all over the country became a family through unity. The greater cause – equality – bound the families of that time together like never before. Despite the media’s influence of negative depictions, the families stood proudly bond together, with integrity.
Ultimately, due to the power harnessed by the new found family built in unity, they were able to accomplish a common goal that was shared at that time.
No matter what race, creed, or background, our society once shared a sense of togetherness and many values that incorporated family. As we hear our grandparents and their parents’ legacies and stories we realized that wisdom has a certain prominence and family had a great contribution to each of their childhoods. Examples of the change in their mindsets and ours are simple.
We all have heard sayings such as “it takes a village to raise a child”. This alone tells you that family was far broader than blood and it was important to have a community bond in the previous eras of our American society. Society demanded unison and the media catered to that demand.
Thus, the people of America as whole viewed themselves as one nation, one society, and one family, i.e. “United we stand.”
Consequently, youth suffer and lack this once known sense of community, values, integrity, responsibility, and family. The youth are now in a society that has self-segregated. The struggles of our predecessors to fight for equality are becoming more and more of a farce of a memory until the families remind our youth. We can relate this to women’s rights or even modern-day gay rights movements.
Movements such as these gave one group of people a common goal and focus. With this in mind, think of the civil rights movement and why it is justified as family than gay rights activists and their movement. If we use the gay rights movement as an example of this principle, we will see a people of any creed, background and religion standing together for a certain purpose, this is unity, this is a community and this is very much a “family”. Only when we are united and have a common cause of survival can we stand.
Having a functional family to influence and mold the youth into our future politicians, physicians, and lawyers is imperative. This molehill will grow into a mountain.
If families remain torn and broken with no one handling their responsibilities as parents without rearing the children to respect the all mighty dollar rather than their families the communities and country would have productive citizens and an overall product society. No one truly survives without sticking together. This was once the rudiment of becoming a young student; teamwork and equality, now its competition and segregation.
Our youth could have positive mentors no matter their home dysfunction and still have a better chance of overcoming stigmas and statistics. Children wouldn’t think about killing their parents over games or beating their peers over fashion. They would see each other as brothers instead of two different strangers. This is a value that has to be instilled into the children from youth.
As it stands, if you are born in a certain society your chances of leaving that cycle is statistically against your favor. Once, our predecessors could work to leave us with a greater chance to move the generation forward, now statistics tells us we are stuck. We must demand more of our youth as a society, community, and parent. Most importantly, we must assume responsibility at some point for what we have been teaching our youth. Ultimately, the result of not taking responsibilities for our own actions and the actions of our interconnected youth, families are torn, and so are our communities.
We are all connected as one world family.
In fact, as Mills’ would tell us, the actual impact of one person on the entire society is dominating. The adulterated truth of the negative impact that is associated with the individual’s everyday lifestyle and values that person shares leaving a deliberate footprint on our society. Although many modern day critics blame the surrounding world around us for many faults and statistics that are happening on a day-to-day basis, in reality, we all have our own unique societal footprint and we can each play a role in creating a better future for the world family.
In the end, it is simple: we must become a societal family once again before it is too late for our youth, for our future. It is in the power of a community family that we all can be on a road to success.
Mills, C. Wright. 2000 (1959). The Sociological Imagination: 40th Anniversary Edition. Oxford University Press.