Family is a word that has a myriad of meanings, whose definition is often grasped as it appeals to different people, depending on the dynamics revolving around their upbringing, cultural diversities, and a few other factors but boils down to the importance of someone in people’s lives and the vast majority of the time, and how love clouds the atmosphere of the relationship they have with such individuals. As you grow, you’d realize that Family transcends bloodline; it includes friends and the vast majority of people who love, root for you, and ultimately, people you trust.
What exactly does Family mean?
There are countless words to describe famiy. However, the word Family has a generally accepted definition, “a primary social unit in society living together, usually consisting of parents and children.” As much as this definition errs on the side of general acceptance, several fundamental family structures have been left out by this definition. An example would include single mothers, single fathers, couples without children, and the likes. Family can further be defined as “a couple of people living together, having similar long and short-term goals and commitment.”
What makes up a family?
A father, mother, and a child or children is what makes up the traditional Family; This is what we see on TV and the internet as the conventional Family, but in recent times, as knowledge unfolds, different variety of family structures have emerged which is entirely different from the ancient days, such as children raised by queer parents, children raised by grandparents or children raised by single mothers and single fathers. More so, some don’t entirely have children due to medical reasons and several other barriers. Do they not deserve to be called a family? Hence the debate: The concept of a family being just a father, a mother, and children, is an outdated social construct.
Do friends count as Family?
In recent times, people prefer not to get married but entangle themselves in relationships with friends, hence birthing the concept of “family.” Further afield, people who have lost family members and loved ones to the cold hands of death tend to create a structure or circle of friends, whose goals revolve on sameness wheel as theirs, and call them Family. Friends are usually chosen by choice and sometimes circumstance and are almost always lifesavers in both cases. The chain of love created by friends sometimes surpasses bloodline, and this is as a result of the conscious decision to select and bring these people into one’s circle of intimacy.
Do pets also count as Family?
Unarguably, the role pets play in companionship and also in the general family system is underrated. However, the spice they add to the family structure is solid, especially the relationship they build with children and couples who are yet to conceive. Pets play the role of children, in love and in care, like cats, dogs, rabbits, etc., so much so that they are part of HMO structures of most families around the globe.
A dive into the true meaning of Family
Instead of restricting the definition of Family to the bloodline, it should be tailored to the in-depth love, sacrifice, and care continuously offered by one person to another, making it an open environment to multiply select from the vast majority of people, bringing in your choice to your circle of intimacy. As aforementioned, Family transcends bloodline, it cuts through people who show empathy, charity, and sometimes sympathy, creating an avenue to make Family what you want of it. As Robin Roberts said, the fascinating part of life is that I would disagree less when your friends become Family. Summarily, Family is what you make it, regardless of blood relation.
Like every ecosystem, each member of a family has a niche; a role to play which is sometimes defined by the society. As such the true meaning of the family can be coined in relation to the society that a family finds herself in.