Happy Family! Have we lost the tradition of FAMILY and became ISOLATED?

“A family that prays together, stays together.” This is an old saying which holds true now and will hold true forever. If the members of the family sit together, spend time with each other, have food in each others’ company, they will always develop a strong bonding with each other, and will stay united. But what is the precise meaning of the word “FAMILY”? Now the scope of the word “FAMILY” has changed over a period of time and it is used in different contexts by different people.

The politicians(generally during their election campaign) consider that our country is like a family and we are all united with each other like family members. The company owner would boast that their company is like a family and all the employees are treated in the company as their family members. But we are not discussing the word family in that context right now and it somehow does not work with me. How can you call a certain group as your family even if you don’t know many people in that group?

A happy family is but an earlier heaven – George Bernard Shaw

The word family which we want to discuss right now can be defined as a group of descendants of an ancestor. The ancestors would be common but the family will keep on increasing as the children will get married and have kids and the cycle will go on. The generations will keep on moving ahead. So how large can a family be? Right now in most of the families the members have become restricted to a father, mother, and kid.

But before the last few decades, people had as many as 4-5 children or even more and that led to larger families. People would stay together along with their brothers and sisters. Then all the brothers would gradually get married which would lead to ladies entering the families. The sisters then would depart from one family and go to another family after their marriage.

There was a beauty in that concept. The most senior person, in most cases, would be the principal or head of the family who would take all decisions. He was the leader of the large family. There was brotherhood, love, bonding, and unity among all the family members. There were lot of kids in the family and they were always busy playing sports and games and doing mischief with each other. All the elders would sit together and have fun with each other.

The woman used to share the work of the kitchen and cleaning and proper distribution was done for that. There were more members in the family so whenever any help was required, family members were always there for help. As the family members would increase, the space in the home would get restricted for all the members. So some of the members would also have to sleep on the floor at night but they would not complain but enjoy each others’ company.

Family is not an important thing, it’s everything – Michael J. Fox

But gradually due to different reasons, the families started getting restricted. Parents decided to have just one or two kids. The concept of a big family gradually disappeared. There were many reasons for that. One of them was that it was very difficult to manage the finances for children. The limitations of salary and the high cost of schooling led people to restrict the number of their children. One other reason was that the parents did not want to take more responsibility for raising more children. They felt that the children of the current generation are very mischievous and will never obey their parents’ advice. Due to the high cost of living, women also started to do jobs, so it became very difficult to take care of children.

Sadly, the houses became bigger but the members of the family became smaller. In most homes, the number of rooms has become greater than the members of the family.

This led to the reduction of members of the family. Some of these reasons are surely valid and justifiable. But there is also thinking and mindset of married people which is very debatable. People feel these days that they need a private life. After marriage, the woman started to demand, that they needed a personal life or a private life. They felt that to take responsibility for a big family wears them off mentally as well as physically. This led to family members getting divided. After the marriage, brothers would buy different houses and stay apart from each other.

But the fact is that living in isolation, instead of giving relaxation and peace, it generates stress and depression. I remember one incident when a married couple requested to their distant relatives to just stay with them for a few days. They were fed up with their private life and they wanted somebody with whom they could talk and interact. They said that even if the person is old and he cannot speak. they won’t mind, what they wanted was somebody who would at least listen to them.

The most important thing in the world is family and love – John Wooden

This led to a huge dent in the number of family members. And the parents cannot live with all the children, they can only stay with one of their kids. But the things only got worse, when the family members became so obsessed with the concept of personal life, they also decided to stay away from their parents. Suppose there is a family with three brothers and all of them have now bought a new house. And they live in their new homes but none of them lives with their parents. The parents live isolated in their old house wandering about the stupidity and lack of obedience on the part of their children.

Now people have got their desired PRIVATE life in a family of three. But there are three people with three PRIVATE lives. Father is always busy with his office work, the mother is also doing a job or is engrossed in different activities and the children live their own life. It is so scary that at times on weekends there are three members in the family and all of them are staring at their mobiles. They are sending SMILIES to their friends and distant relatives but they are not even looking at their family members. If family members are not even interested in having a conversation with each other, how can we expect them to pray with each other as per the saying, “A Family that prays together, stays together”?

Instead of enjoying the pleasure of spending time with the family, parents consider raising their children as their responsibility just as they do in their jobs. The men try hard to arrange for enough funds so he is able to take care of his kid’s studies. He also makes sure that there is enough money so their family will not face a financial crisis later in their life.

All the arrangements for comforts and smooth living are taken care of but the bonding and love between the members of the family is surely vanishing. A change in mindset is required for this. Instead of thinking that, “I am earning to take care of my family” we have to say to ourselves, “I am making money so I can enjoy with my family and I will make sure that I will not get over obsessed with earning money to safeguard my family for future problems!”

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there – Barbara Bush

The situation is indeed very sad but still, we can see the concept of large families in the villages. People may not have that much money but they are contented in their life. We are doing a great disservice to our children by not giving them the benefit and pleasure of a family. It is our duty to make sure that all of us maintain the rich tradition of family rather than live a life that is filled with loneliness and isolation.

15th May is celebrated as INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES. Let us make a resolution that we will stay united in our families and bring the tradition of the family back in our culture. Families are the backbone and foundation of society. The real joy of a person is his family and his friends. Also, we should not restrict family to just our spouse and our children. A Family comprises of parents, our brothers, sisters, and also close relatives.

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