The Concept of Family3:55 AM
The Typical Family
A typical family is composed of a father, mother, and children. This is what we were taught during our elementary days. Each one has a duty to fulfill. The father provides for the family, the mother takes care of the family, and the children obey and help their parents while taking care of each other.
The reality of life however has spawned various forms of family life, different but still a family.
The Childless Family
Some couples are unable to have children of their own due to some medical condition of one or both. They can choose to complete the family picture by adopting children who have been abandoned by their biological parents. They can take care of other children's needs without necessarily legally adopting them. Even in choosing to be without children, husband and wife remain each other's family.
The Absentee Parent/ Single Parenthood
A family may have one parent missing either because one is working in a distant land or the parents chose to separate ways. In this scenario, the remaining parent tries to perform the duties normally performed by two. Because of the missing parent, the other tries to compensate for the absence sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. Children in this family set-up usually form a certain degree of sensitivity especially in school activities that require the presence of both parents. Although this family set-up is fairly common and many have triumphed over great odds, there are still specific issues that have to be addressed in order to help the children understand the situation.
The Mixed Family
This type of family set-up merges the children from previous marriages with the children of the new family itself. There are families who manage to adjust to this kind of situation and end up having a large, happy family. Those who are unable to are typically held down by prejudices and jealousy with the original children from previous marriages seeing the new spouse as the main obstacle to the reconciliation of their own parents. This is even besides the fact that the new spouse came way after the separation.
The Extended Family
This particular family set-up is quite common in the Philippines where several families live in one common house. The ancestral home owned by parents can be the home of all married children including their respective families. Extended families therefore include aunts, uncles, grandparents, and in-laws. This could work both ways. It can be advantageous especially in times where family solidarity is important or disadvantageous since there is no privacy for each family and the problems of one becomes known to the others even if there is no desire to make it known. Envy is also a common problem when one family is more financially able than others.
Who wouldn't want to have a picture of a perfect family to speak of? The reality of life however does not provide any of us perfection. We may have the right number of members but treat each other like strangers. We may have the capacity to provide comfortably for the well-being of several children and yet biologically be unable to have even one. One parent may be providing well for the family but suffer the loneliness of being away.
That said, rather than chase perfection itself, let us try to see the perfection in each of our limitations so that we can better appreciate the families we have.