Saturday, December 26, 2015

Amplifying the Family

Family gets a lot of attention at this time of year. Christmas is increasingly thought of primarily as a family holiday - even in some warped interpretations of the holiday as more of a family holiday than a religious holiday, a day to be spent visiting rather than in church! Still, kept in proportion to the true significance of the feast, the familial dimension of Christmas can be a wonderful thing.  Family bonds are fraying in the United States, as the very nature and purpose of the institution is evolving and suffering the fate of so many other communal and social bonds, which just seem to get in the way of the hegemony of the isolated individual. 

So I read with some interest in the weekly "Faith and Family" section of The Knoxville News Sentinel, a column about a current trend to rediscovering and reconnecting with extended families - "More people search for connections with cousins," which can be found online at:

In the words of one of the cousins whose reconnecting inspired the article: "Cousins are important because they share blood, no matter if they are first or distant cousins. Going forward they are legacies of ancestors who set the course for the future and remind us of our perseverance, will, strength, and courage."

The challenges facing the family today are many - including, not least, the increasing physical distances between family members. It helps to be reminded that the narrow equation of family with our modern "nuclear family" is just that - modern. It is part of the problem, not part of the solution. In order to be better able to carry out its functions and bear the burden of a hostile culture, family needs to be amplified again to include the wider networks of relationships that defined family in its better days.

No comments:

Post a Comment