I have always thought of my family as a strong “thing”. Strong bonds between brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, however last night, after a conversation with my sister, I see that the strength of being a family is not really there any more.
I don’t if this is just an evolution of families, as we get older and set up families of our own, we drift apart and the old bonds are replaced by new ones within the new family. Perhaps that is the change that the latter half of the 20th century has brought to families, I can certainly remember a stronger family unit when I was growing up; grandparent and aunts & uncles were always around and helping out and listening. Now I think that the idea of the family has failled and has not changed to preserve itself.
Perhaps it is symptomatic of what I think I have witnessed in the sense of community; I feel that for most that has got lost and we do not feel very much about the people we live near or work with. We don’t care enough to go and vote and determine who runs our communities. Are people disengaging from each other for a reason? Do we have enough common bonds left to bring ourselves back together as a community?
I really don’t know and even if I did I wouldn’t know where it should start from.
I sometimes laugh when I hear politicians and religious leaders speak of “putting the family back at the heart of our community“. Are they taking about the 1940’s idea of family or have they really looked at the ‘state’ of the idea of the family and have new ideas to re-build it? I seriously think it is the former and that is where what they are saying disengages people from their out-dated ideas.
If people are serious about supporting the family and re-creating the sense of community and family, they have to re-define their concepts to fit what is left of the family model and support it into the 21st centuary.
As to what I thinkis left of the family, well I am not sure. In the world that is the “west” today we have so much information at our finger-tips that we do not need to go to the old sources of information and advice to find out and learn. In this western world we now have increasingly large disposable incomes which frees up from the support that the 1940s family used to provide for itself. So in essence we THINK we know more than our elders and siblings and earn enough to break free from them.
Maybe I am wrong, but today, that is how I see it. Famiy is used when we need something we cannot get ourselves, and instances of that are getting less and less……