Taking a bit from last weeks discussion and connecting with a concept from this weeks lesson I learned something powerful. Last week we talked about those different family rules and and this week we talked about different cultures and the validity of them. But What really stood out to me when I thought about the two lessons together was how when you look at each family and the variations that parents take to raise those families.
Growing up, I had a very different childhood than a lot of my friends, and really it was just a difference of family situation, circumstance and a difference of culture between families. My mom worked as I grew up and so I had a very different experience, not a bad one necessarily but just a different one. One of my friends grew up playing a lot of video games with her brothers, and I played hardly any. I was allowed to have sleepovers and most of my friends weren’t. When I talk to others about their families and how they grew up, I find that they are so different in many ways, but neither is better than the other. I don’t feel like I was robbed one bit just because my mom worked and went to school or that half my life I grew up an only child because my siblings were so much older than I was. I don’t feel like I grew up any better than them because I had certain privileges that they didn’t. We just grew up different and we grew up according to our circumstance.
I read a book once for my political science class called Moral Politics and I found that the book was more about raising families than it was about politics. The book used two different family systems to describe the differences between liberals and conservatives. Instead of learning about how liberals and conservatives think I learned about the difference between moral family systems and how different parents teach their kids to see the world in terms of morality. Right and wrong. What stood out to me was that neither system was technically correct, but that each had something good in it. Different systems and ideals work for different families.
Don’t get bogged down in the details of what way to raise a family is wrong or right. My parents raised me completely different than they raised my older siblings. They saw what worked and what didn’t work. My sister raises her family a little different than my brother raises his, and both of their families are turning out just fine. There is no universal answer of what is correct and what is incorrect. There is no universal rule saying you have to do something a certain way.
I find it really interesting the unspoken rules and roles we have in families. In my family, you never back down from a “discussion”. Never let the problem sit unresolved, and always make sure you get your point across and that you are understood clearly. I know that in some families, they teach their kids to go cool down but in my family it just doesn’t work that way. No one leaves the room until the problem is resolved! Another rule that just sort of appeared out of no where is that you stick up for family no matter what. I have seen quite a few situations where one sibling will say unkind and even rude things about another family member, or the family in general and everyone else will stick up for each other. We all have very strong personalities in my family, and that is why no one ever lets someone get walked on, or never walks away from a problem.
Each sibling or parent plays a role in the family and those roles all roll together into one giant well-oiled, and sometimes not so well-oiled machine. Some of us are a bit more mild than the others, we sometimes seem small and insignificant at times but in reality without those smaller parts, the rest would fall apart. I have some siblings that are bold and constantly moving, keeping the rest of us on our toes and some who are always constant, never changing and forever working behind the scenes to keep things in check. Naturally, every family is different and every situation is different; the roles and parts are completely different, but the surrounding theme among these families, situations, roles and parts is that they exist, all the same. My family’s challenges differ greatly from yours, and you contribute to your family something different than I contribute to mine.
I am still trying to figure out the role I play, I don’t know yet what it is I contribute because I have changed so much in the last few years, I’ve seen a lot and I’ve grown a lot. Hopefully, I can figure it out in the next few years. I’m sure that if I were to ask each sibling what they thought the role I played was, they would each say something different to me. I honestly cannot imagine what my family dynamic would be without my family members. If I didn’t have the wild card there, my life would be pretty boring, and without those constant rocks, I would have no one to look to. If I didn’t have the sibling I talk to about everything, I would have a lot of emotions built up inside of me, and if I didn’t have my parents constantly teaching and lifting me then I would probably be on the streets by now. Those roles they play in my life are what form and shape the unspoken rules of our family. Without those roles we wouldn’t have those rules and that, in my honest, humble and true opinion, would be a very unsatisfactory life.
A common question posed these days is “Does it really matter how many children I have?” Some people in this world would give different answers; some would say “No of course not! Its your choice!” or “No, the less children the better!” and some of us would say, “Of course it matters!”
After the Baby Boom in the 40’s and 50’s people began to fear that our world was becoming overpopulated and that eventually we would run out of resources and destroy the environment. After this scare people began having children less and less. Families became smaller and the fertility rate dropped down significantly. If this trend continues as it has, eventually the world will become underpopulated. Not only does the economy become badly affected by this, but so does the value of the family.
More and more these days, people underestimate the power of families and the world has even turned family into some kind of joke. By the worlds standards its laughable to wait until marriage to have sex, and that a family with more than three kids is an abomination to society. Couples live together instead of getting married, and the definition of marriage is even evolving. But this is not reality and it is far from truth. The family is the foundation of morals; this is where we learn right and wrong, where we learn to walk and communicate and care for others.
Why put a value on having kids? I may not be a parent, but I can only imagine that raising a family is the most valuable experience you will ever have as a human on this earth. It may cause the most pain, but it will without a doubt bring the most joy. There are spirit children waiting to come down to earth and experience life for themselves and it is our responsibility to bring them here to earth.
So, yes. It does matter how many children you have. With each child you raise and protect you gain that much satisfaction and fulfillment. You gain the most incredible and honorable experience imaginable. Don’t let the thought of parenthood weigh you down and scare you away. A great responsibility with an even greater reward.
My name is McKinlee and I am creating this blog to journal my experience in my Family Relations class! I’m a sophomore in college, and I am incredibly excited to see what I am going to learn about the family! I am the youngest of six kids, and I have ten nieces and nephews; I’m currently the only one not married in my family, so I don’t have a whole lot of experience as a spouse or parent, but I have a lot of experience being a sister and daughter! Check up on this every once in a while, and read about the wonderful things I’ll be learning! Feel free to comment with your own thoughts in response!