Sometime today I started thinking about the concept of family. What truly is a family? Even though I taught a Sociology class for a couple of years, I needed to remind myself of what I already know. So when I arrived home I looked the word family up in the dictionary. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "Family" as:
- A fundamental social group in society consisting esp. of a man and woman and their offspring.
- A group of persons sharing a common ancestry.
- Lineage, esp. distinguished lineage.
- All the members of a household under one roof.
- A group of like things; class.
The definition and individuals interpretations, expectations, and perceptions can be quite different. Our "ideas" of what we want our family to be like and how it really is can be complex. Every individual in a family brings their own set of ideas, expectations and perceptions to the table. One individual may want a close relationship while another likes to stand alone. These differences can cause hurt feelings. Circumstances, actions, and family history can leave lasting scars that are hard to overcome. Families are not perfect!
While teaching Sociology the one thing I would always say is this: "Don't get hung up on the definition of family, family can be however you define it." In our modern world the family has evolved and the word "family" may mean different things to different people. So, if your current definition of family is not working out how you would like, maybe you should think about changing your definition. To me, family are the people around you who love and support you regardless of our flaws, they will defend you when nobody else will, and they can look past the bad to see the good. To me, a family is NOT one that belittles you, talks about you behind your back, and manipulates your life. When you change how you look at family, you can change your life. In the end you have to be happy with you!!!