A guest blog article by Hayley Dantona (student, world citizen)
Everyone starts somewhere and that somewhere usually starts with family. Family is difficult to define, in the traditional sense of the word it could be as simple as saying family are the people to whom a person is related to by blood, but that is not always the case. Family can also be a group of people with no biological connection but who love each other all the same.
A group of friends can be family.
An adopted family is still family.
There are factors that play into the way a person defines the word family, such as their culture and the time period in which they live.
Family is a fluid word. It can change and stretch to fit into multitudes of situations. However, a true family are people who love and support one another, despite whether they have blood ties or not.
People start out in the world with a family of people they have no choice in being around, but are simply considered “family” because they are related by blood or legality.
This first family can be awful or wonderful.
Some parents are too busy to pay attention to their children, some are abusive, siblings fight, and some relatives refuse to talk to others; every family has problems but some can have piles and piles of problems. People who grow up in these families seem to not actually consider them family, but instead refer to their close friends as true family instead. Relatives are not all bad though, some related families are very close. In these families it is unnecessary to turn to other people because the people they are related to fulfill the love and affection and support people crave from their family. That does not exclude them from including friends nor does it exclude relatives from being counted as family to those with less loving families.
Adoption works in a similar way. The family that adopted the child may or may not be better than the family they were taken away from, but it’s more about the family that supports them. If their birth mother was not able to afford them that does not make her a bad person but that also does not mean the child would refer to her as family: the child would have never met her, she would not be family as defined by some.
The way a person defines family is different for each person and is affected by their culture and the time period in which they live.
During the 1950s, family revolved around the man and his happiness, woman were expected to prepare for and please him. Children were supposed to be perfect and quiet. The Good Wife’s Guide states that the woman’s goal is to make sure the home is peaceful and orderly so the husband may relax (Housekeeping Monthly, 1955). The article no longer applies in the current time period, and in fact was proven to be a hoax as to its publishing; But it is, however, a fairly accurate picture of what family was in that time.
All of it is relative to what was taught and what was going on and how families were then. Years and years ago it was perfectly acceptable, even sometimes encouraged, to marry a cousin to keep the bloodline strong. In our current time, marrying a relative is unacceptable and disgusting, at least in most places.
Family has indeed changed and evolved. It will continue to do so.
In the end, family is about love and trust, support and forgiveness. If what one calls “family” does not provide those things, then it is not a real family.
“The Good Wife’s Guide” Housekeeping Monthly. 13 May, 1955.