Throughout time, humans have tried to organize themselves in various ways in order to survive and prosper. One of those ways, and probably the most important one, has been the family.
The idea of family serves several purposes:
– it creates a safe place in which children can grow;
– it acts as an organized structure in which emotions can be expressed freely;
– it makes surviving and living easier for individuals;
– it acts as a center of gravity for people’s desires and hopes;
In order to accomplish its benefits, the family, as a social construct, must impose certain limitations, such as:
– a problem that arises inside must first be addressed inside (only when no solution was found, external help is accepted);
– there has to be a certain degree of similarity between its members (expressed in many forms);
– internal aspects must receive greater importance and urgency than external aspects;
The benefits and limitations of the family interact with each other in various and complex ways. Sometimes it leads to great pleasure and satisfaction, while sometimes it creates intense traumas or emotional pain. We need to consider both scenarios when talking about this topic, both are as important. Sometimes it can be hard to see both aspects, especially when we didn’t experience one of them directly ourselves. But I think all of us have been, at one point or another, on both sides of a family, inside and outside, and we were able to at least observe this social construct from both points of view. I think all of us have seen both some positive and some negative aspects of it, either from inside or from outside.
So the question becomes: what should we do about this ?
We, as a society, should start by asking this exact question: what should we do about this ?
Are we satisfied with the current state of the family, this social construct ? If not, in which ways should we change it ?
This question needs to be asked not by individuals, but by the whole society. The individual can only start the discussion. If we are to make any significant change to this social construct, we must have this discussion, as a whole.
There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
— Nelson Mandela