Ahh the internet. It can be such a wonderful and striking tool. Yet, at the same time it can drive you crazy with search overload. Perhaps that is why I love those commercials for the search engine “Bing”….that is exactly how I feel some days when trying to find an answer.
Today I popped on the interwebs to look up the answer to a few questions and check out the news. While browsing I came upon an interesting article about what exactly defines a family. This got me to thinking, because as Alex and I have explored our options and choices in possibly having a child we’ve been told time and time again “How wonderful, you’ll get to start A FAMILY.” Or we’ve been told “That’s so nice to know you’ll finally be A FAMILY.” Well now, wait a second? Didn’t he and I become a family the day we said “I do”?
I realize that the family dynamic is traditionally two parents, typically a Mom and a Dad, and children. (Plus the dog and cat.) But that idea is, and has been for quite some time, evolving. Personally, I feel that Alex and I ARE a family. We have two cats and they are our fur-babies. We may not have children, but that doesn’t make us an less of a family. I mean, if you look at the stats compiled by the lead sociologist Brian Powell of Indian University, in 2010 eighty-three percent of the people surveyed felt that un-married couples with children constituted a family, but only forty percent of married couples with no kids were considered a family.** That doesn’t even begin to go into the figures involving less-traditional relationships. What is it about children that helps us as a society define our “family”-hood?
I’m not trying to open a can of worms here, truly I’m not, but to only have a single definition for “family” is a bit naïve don’t you think? I realize that not everyone may agree, but there are many legal and potentially life-changing ramifications for this very definition. Not to mention, your words may hurt the feelings, unwittingly, of the couple that is trying so hard to conceive and can’t by stating they aren’t “a family” without a child. Or perhaps the couple that chose to not have children, recognizing a lack of desire in themselves and thus the best interest of any child was for them to NOT have a child, and instead worked quite hard all their lives.
My point in all this is simply that there is no one singular definition of “family” and that is something we all should keep in mind. Your view and my view of what exactly constitutes a family may differ, but let’s remember that sometimes it’s ok to be different.
OOOO – k now that this post went completely away from where I started, I’ll shut up now. If you hate the post, tell me. If you like it, tell me. I’d really appreciate the feedback.