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Family Ties

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1071
  • Category: Family

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Most societies generally consider family as the smallest unit of society. That is, a family is a composition of individuals bound together by affection, affinity, blood, and marriage. When we think of a family, the idea of husband and wife and their children usually comes to mind. However, the definition of family may vary within any given society.

Perhaps it would be safe to think that there is no universal definition of family. This is because the definition may depend upon how people view it as a dynamic entity. However, the universal notion is that it is a composition of individuals bound together by love and affection among family members. For a family cannot exist as such without the binding power or influence of love. It would be illogical to think that a family can still exist without the element of love and care. Without love, it would simply be a composition of people motivated by their personal intention, desire, motives or even dependency.

Just imagine a family not bound by love. In real life situation, if the leading members of the family— the husband and wife— have already lost their affection for each other, the tendency is that they would end up in divorce court, a situation that usually happens to unhappy families in the Western world.

The word family did not just sprout out of nothing. It must have its exact or corresponding meaning. Family can be said to be the simplest collective of all collectives. There are many kinds of collectives like government, society, corporation, fraternity, union, membership association, club, among others. Each of these collectives possesses characteristics distinct from each other. For example, a government is a political institution bound by a duty or responsibility to serve the public. The binding force here is the word ‘duty.’

When it comes to family, the binding force is love. As stated above, without this element a group of individuals even though bound by marriage or by blood cannot exist for several years. It may last for a very few years, but the tendency is that family members would usually end up destroying each other because of greed, jealousy, and loss of respect. Without love, a collective perceived as family will certainly break or tear apart. To understand this concept, it is important to look at real-life examples within our society. Nowadays we usually encounter news stories about wealthy clans rocked by scandal. This is a case wherein members of the family have already lost affection for each other. When love fades away, respect or any kind of sympathy or fondness follows suit.

A family may be composed of two individuals bound by marriage. Marriage is what usually commences a family. These two individuals bound by both love and affection will soon create a family of their own with its own values, norms, and even traditions. Family customs and traditions are not new to families with rich ancestry. Most European families have the culture and tradition to keep their family intact from generation to generation. This is usually true to wealthy clans that refuse to lose their bloodlines.

In the United States, young family members would usually leave their homes and establish a life of their own whenever they reach the age of majority. The Americans value independence, a virtue not usually seen in most societies. Most young Americans would try to establish independence when they reach the age of 18. By contrast, most Asian families are big and extended because their children remain dependent on their parents. The result is an extended family not merely composed of the basic family members, but also comprised of other relatives like grandchildren, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nephews and nieces. In most of Asia, this system is usually called ‘close family ties.’

However there are also families that try to keep their history and ancestry for generations. This is usually seen in most Jewish and Arabian societies that try to maintain their bloodlines for hundreds of years. For example, one of the wealthiest families in the world is the House of Rothschild (Pasachoff & Littman, 2005, p.203). This Jewish family is able to maintain its lineage since the 16th century through intermarriage. This is a clear example of a family both bound by ancestry and blood.

Dependency upon the parents usually leads to extended family. Because of financial incapacity, some family members are afraid of leaving their homes to claim their own independence. Nuclear family is usually seen in Western countries like the Unites States, Canada, France, Norway, Switzerland, among others. Young family members remain dependent on their parents until they reach the age of majority. A family may be the smallest unit of society, but it has the most important role in nation-building. It is noteworthy that most nations with nuclear families are economically and technologically developed, while nations with extended families are waylaid by the concept of family dependency. This is because a family that values independence develops a nation through its young, independent-minded family members.

There are aspects that unite a family. One of which is love, others are history, tradition, and blood. If a family is bound by love, respect for each family member exists. But it is important to understand that a family is not a stagnant, but a dynamic unit or entity. Like any other collectives, it also experiences problems, sufferings, trials and triumph. Apart from love, there are incidents that make a family united. Problems can make or break a family. There are types of families that develop stronger unison in times of trouble, while there are also others that break apart when faced with financial or any kind of problems.

When parents fell out of love and lost trust with each other that is the time when the family begins to tear apart. There are only a few cases wherein a family is wrecked by the death of a family member. It always ends with the breakup of the parents. In this case parents usually end up in divorce court to settle their differences. But like any entity that can be fixed by reconciliation or reunion, a family may still be blended by remarriage parents’ remarriage.



Pasachoff, N. & Littman, R.J. (2005). A Concise History of the Jewish People. Lanham,

Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield

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