Let us now set forth one of the fundamental truths about marriage: the wife is in charge.

~ Bill Cosby ~

Family and You

April 5th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 36 secs

Your family can even share hair!

Family is such a simple concept. Yet implanted in the idea is a host of intricacies. What is a family? Some say it’s a father, mother, and their children. Others say it’s whomever you feel you belong to. According to the, “family” has several meanings. But, boiling it down, family is:

  1. A basic social unit consisting of parent, parents, or guardians and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
  2. “Any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins.”

Still, there are others. Young people or adults sharing a home can become strongly bonded to the point they feel they’re family. Sometimes, people going through tough times together or sharing a great deal of intimacy can be family. So, blood ties or not, belonging has a big part to play.

Family has to survive “teen challenges”, misunderstandings, poverty, illness, substance abuse, ill-treatment, injury, and death. Yet none of us are trained to cope with any of this. You just make it up as you go. For some, family is mostly a smooth existence. But many find family a source of frequent distress. No wonder, people say, “Family: can’t live with them; can’t live without them.”

But as tough as family life can be, it’s also a useful proving ground. How we cope with each other is practice for a much baggier “family” experience of wider society.  When family life goes wrong, it merely mirrors something already in society. Problem is, if family leaves you damaged, your broader life becomes beset with difficulty. That’s why family life should never be done in isolation. Each family is like a person, needing to know the love, trust, and calming of others.

Sometimes, people criticize families that struggle. Yet if each family connects with other families, its lumps and bumps can be smoothed out. Just as community relies on families, every family needs community.

Wherever you are in this world, I believe you need to know somebody loves you and will be there for you. Some families will do that.  But even messy families offer something we can’t dismiss. Family gives you a history. Whether you have to work with it or against it, it proves you belong.




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