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Hearing the word “family,” it’s quite normal to reminisce of holidays spent traveling in packed cars with one’s siblings and parents, of gift giving and festive meals, of white-haired, cheek-pinching grandmothers, of back-yard barbeques and celebrations. In the traditional sense, “Family” has generally come to refer to this group of people, those who are related by blood or marriage. But the term today actually has several other meanings as well (especially in the American English vernacular) and carries various sociolinguistic implications: the term, for one, applies to people who are as close on a personal level as family, if not more so. “Family” can refer to those who may belong to the same religious or spiritual group or community. Lastly, “Family” also has scientific meanings, one of which refers to a group of objects associated by a significant shared characteristic.
Quite naturally, “family” refers to one’s blood-relatives – such as one’s immediate family: one’s brothers and sisters and parents; and then one’s extended family: one’s grandparents, cousins, nephews, uncles and aunts, et al. But, then again, since the social institution of marriage is constantly evolving, notions of the family are also bound to be changing and having different meanings for everyone. For example, some people’s family may include other people who are not even related to them through marriage or blood or adoption. They may be their most cherished of friends or life companions and even future spouses. Bonds with these kinds of family members are sometimes stronger than the ones shared by siblings. Because society should not decide who exactly one is allowed to consider family, it should be accepted and even encouraged for people to consider their best friends and companions as family, even if they’re not related through blood or marriage.
Definition Essay Sample
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Secondly, while “family” most certainly refers to one’s immediate family, the term can also include all the descendants of a common ancestor. And since many religions, such as Christianity and Islam, consider themselves and others the children of God or Allah, believers of those religions are believed to be familial to others who practice the same faith. Also, “family” can refer to those who belong to the same, immediate faith-based community, if they attend the same local church, synagogue, or mosque. People who are part of these communities do spend a great deal of time together, attend many of the same events and ceremonies, and consider themselves part of their “Christian” or “Islamic” family.
And, finally, although “family” does suggest a group of people united by blood or marriage, it can also refer to a group of animals, or any group of objects, with a similar characteristic. For example, a fox is a carnivorous mammal of the dog family, with its pointed muzzle and bushy tail. The common characteristic in this example is the fox being part of a species of animal – the dog family – because it shares similar physical traits, DNA and even similar habits of survival with the dog. In such a scientifically and technologically developed society, most people would be able to understand the context of “family” used as a way that indicates a group with a shared feature or attribute.
In conclusion, people in the 21st century, as a whole, see, understand and use the word “family” in different ways. So a person should not be caught off-guard if another refers to their life companion or best friend as family, or if by “family,” a person means the people who attend their local church; and, once again, a person who says that a certain flower or group of flowers belong to the “rose family,” most people will understand the context of “family.” And since the social institution of family is changing, one may inquire if the change is detrimental or beneficial, though it is a question that is quite subjective in nature.
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Defining Family Essay
1920 Words8 Pages
Determining family structure and dynamics as well as defining the family is a complex process. Personally, I come from a very traditional family. Much like the assumptions made by the students in the article Defining Family: Young Adults’ Perceptions of the Parent-Child Bond by Mellisa Holtzman (2008). This is what comes to mind when most people define family; a nuclear family, with married parents, and biological children. However, a family is a complex system and can take on many different forms. Today, in a world of the “postmodern family” the traditional lines of family structure are blurred. Children may come from diverse types of homes, or a couple, married or not may choose to have no children and consider…show more content…
Living with extended family members has also been publicized lately in relation to the poor economy. Young adults who typically lived on their own after college are moving back in with their parents, older adults on fixed incomes that do not go as far as they once did are living with their children. This is a definite shift in the traditional family. Having graduated and moved out on my own prior to the economic decline I have learned to live with less, but having known that was coming I would have considered living at home longer. My siblings have or are planning on moving back in with our parents after college graduation to get ahead money-wise. This is a stressor on not only the individuals as a lack of feelings of freedom, but also an adaptation by the family as a whole that was unplanned years ago. It is my belief that recognizing any family structure or definition is important, as the traditional version may be skewed in so many ways, without knowing or recognizing the “family” that people we run across may come from. We can also learn from other family definitions to build upon our own themes, rules, and beliefs. Adding stigma and prejudice toward families different from our own not only alienate the members, but can add unnecessary stress upon that family system. Stress in any family system can be seen as either an adaptation potential or a negative force. Many effects on the