The family is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life and is equally one of the most crucial factors in determining how a child turns out as an adult.
Your family defines who you are as a person. Family enables us to feel a sense of belonging and about who we are. They’re a source of comfort and support warmth, security and protection and they help us to make sense of the world in which we live. Within the family unit, each member has their own individual aspirations in addition to being part of the collective. Each member should be made to feel unique and special and encouraged to follow their goals and dreams.
It’s not like The Waltons on TV however. It’s understandable that families quarrel and experience conflict sometimes. The important aspect is that each member should feel that they can express their opinions openly and that their voice is as important as any other family member’s. Conflicts and rows and how a healthy family resolves their differences is one of the most important elements of family life as it sets up the younger members to gain an understanding of how they might deal with conflict when they become adults.
Teaching Life Skills
Whilst work and school provide the main academic lessons in life, the lessons we learn in family life are to do with guiding us towards our own set of clearly defined personal values and behaviours. We gain discipline from our family structure and it helps us to develop positive interpersonal relationships outside the confines of the family home as well as within in addition to teaching us appropriate behaviour and helping to form our values and belief system.
Why Are Families so Different?
As well as us all being individuals, families can mean totally different things from one person to the next. This can be shaped by religious background, different moral and cultural backgrounds, economic situation, living conditions and the make up of the family unit itself, e.g. the traditional mother and father as head of the family or a single parent as well as many other factors.
Because family life takes up the best part of our formative years, it’s little wonder that it plays a massive part in shaping us into the adults we eventually become. This is why whenever we see teenagers who turn to crime or kids that have been abused, in many cases their parents will have been through a similar kind of upbringing. This isn’t inevitable and issues such as peer pressure can have both a positive and negative influence on the way we grow up but, in general, most of us will carry the values and beliefs we learned from the formative years we spent with our families and carry them onto the next generation.
It’s possible, but often difficult, to break the cycle if your experience of family life was not good but many people who have suffered when they were younger at the hands of family members have gone on to have extremely loving and rewarding families of their own. Once again, as with so many aspects of life, this achievement is all about attitude and the desire and determination to succeed in one’s own life, in spite of the adversity a person may have been put through when they were younger.
Importance of History
Our family, where we came from and where their families came from before them all help us to make sense of who we are in the world which is why so many people who have been adopted want to find out more about their biological family at some point as it helps to give them a sense of identity and enables them to discover why they are as they are.
Some families will thrive more than others. Some families fail in their objectives. Some families get on famously and are very close, some families lose touch but, regardless of the nature of your relationship with your family members, including extended family, it’s hard not to appreciate the importance of family in how they have shaped our world, be it for better or worse.
For those of us fortunate to have been part of a loving, caring and supportive family unit, however, it provides us with confirmation that we are on the right track in life and provides us with a solid example and support when it comes to bringing up our own family.