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Sunday, September 03, 2006

What makes a family?


I finally got my college books at the end of this week, so tonight during the slow time at the theater, I got started reading in my Home, School, and Community textbook. The first chapter deals with defining what a family is and I found it very interesting. The "Ozzie and Harriet" family of the 50's never really existed. It seems that between 1890 and the late 1940's, the divorce rate in the U.S. was climbing. After WW II ended, women left their jobs and went home to have babies - thus the "baby boomers" (of which Greg and I are in the tail-end). After they had five or six children in as many years, women had to depend on marriage to survive economically. Those TV families were a fantasy, an unrealistic depiction of American life. A frustratingly unattainable goal.
Then the book asks us to draw a picture of our "ideal" family, and a picture of our actual family and compare. In my case, they'd be the same picture. You see, we have what is considered the "ideal family" in America. Two parents, two kids, boy older than girl. How did we do that? :o)
Thinking back to my childhood, my "ideal" family would look pretty much the way it was. Two parents, five kids, loads of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and all of my grandparents.
Were we the "ideal" American family? Lord, NO! :o) But who they were, made us who we are. Made us strive to be educated, adventuresome, respectful, and open-minded. Showed us how to work hard to support our families, love our babies, and treasure our family above all others. They maybe didn't teach us these things consciously, or with great finesse, and there are some significant things I wish could have been different, but they were what they were, and each generation tries to do better.
Can we ask more than that? That each generation tries to do better? They make us proud, and thankful that we have such a rich family heritage to pass on to them. . .

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, Tammy. I'm glad God put us in the same family, flawed or not! :)
Your Aussie cousin

Barb M said...

You are so wise. I wish I had been as wise as you at your age, that I had let go of the past and lived as passionatly as I do now. I use to wonder who I'd be if I had different family. The answer is someone else. Can I project character traits, emotions, ethics, morals.....no. So who I am is what I came from and I'm satisfied. I changed and grew and stopped what was bad and created what is good. Sacrifice is neccessary and but survival is not all there is. Would I change anything? Maybe but in the end I sure would miss me!

Anonymous said...

I just left a message on Bobbi's blog about how "brains" run in the family :) I second my Aussie Cousin's comments! Keep living, learning, and loving!!
Your Minneapolis Cuz.