No Families Anymore

In an era where a single person with a child is called a ‘family’, we are seeing the demise of the institution central to humanity’s evolution.  Humans have evolved to be needful of feedback from others regarding how we are fitting in to the group.  The extended family, the tribe, the clan, these are the names of the community that has been essential for human survival.  While able-bodied people of child-bearing age worked practically all the time supporting the group, the elderly took care of the children, with the assistance of the older children.  And children belonged to the tribe, or family, with the strong bonding of an aunt, grandfather, or some other person more than one generation removed providing the nurturing young children need.  And there was always someone there for the children, someone who had time on their hands, a story to tell, songs to share, or encouragement.  Affirmation was abundant.

Our sense of belonging is under attack; we are finding it harder and harder to identify with others, creating ‘us versus them’ feelings.  Our children are shunted aside to day care centers where harried young adults ride crowd control over 30 children.  Our elders are wheeled off into concentration camps, where they wait to die, alone.  Family has always been about more than just blood relations; friendships equal belonging, shared sacrifice brings inclusion.  Somehow, we need to make new families, new groups that we can belong to.  Without community, there is no future.  I will die, but my community has a chance of continuing.  If I put my energy into it, help it along, give to it.  It need not consume me, but my community should always be in my thoughts, remembered.

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