It’s been said our children are a gift. But not given, only loaned…!
You find this out every first-day-of-school right up to every march-down-the-wedding-aisle. However, this then raises the question: Who’s the loan-giver? The answers are many. An anthropologist might say “the evolved planetary slime.” The cosmologist could say “the stars.” The theologian “a creator-god.” Access Hollywood “a bedroom mistake.”
Whatever your answer, here’s the point.
While children all happen the same way, how they’re reared is never the same way. Even in the same family. Making family the key to all this. Either the rearing happens within a family, or it damn well doesn’t happen at all. From lab studies with baboons to orphanage studies with discarded children, to a few of the the wastrel parents you’ve met at the local VFW, this fact stands irrefutable.
But now that raises still another question: What is a family?
Like every other value these days, the definition of family has become a moving target. From Mormons to malefactors, breeders today pair off in many very different ways. If at all. From the stout staid Victorian families of yore…to the warm cherubic Rockwell images of the last century…to the vagabond nesters of today, kids find themselves tucked inside a whole range of options each called family.
And yet, look on the bright side. We have so many gurus to guide us. There’s the queen-mother of all family advice: Oprah. Along with spunky spin-offs like Dr Phil and the latest family-values lectures on PBS. Trouble is, just when you may find one of these afternoon benefactors making sense, Bam! there’s those evening adventures like “Family Guy,” “Modern Family,” and “The Simpsons.”
Of course there’s always the nation’s one final arbiter for what the REAL American Family looks like. Hallmark’s 2011 answer is coming soon to a Christmas card display near you. I for one can’t wait to see what we’re supposed to look like THIS year!
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