I grew up in a culture and milieu where family had precedence over most other things. Many of my fondest memories are the times I spent with my family, which was an ever-expanding and dynamic entity. And now in my old age, I find my family even more precious and relish every moment I can with them. There have been several instances in the past when I turned my back to a job offer or a career, no matter how well paying or lucrative, for the sake of my family.
In recent years, I have seen changes in families and family life that have been unsettling and even disturbing. As recently as the 1960’s, anti-miscegenation laws were part of American law. Nowadays, there is more openness and diversity; and interracial marriages are common and accepted. ‘Two-race’ is now among the choices people can tick off to describe their racial stock. I find this a welcome development.
Family is often a mother, a father and their children. It is sad that many household in the US today are single person households. There are so many people living by themselves – with a pet or two. There are those who have made this as a lifestyle choice but I can imagine the loneliness there must be in some of those homes.
And now there are same-sex couples building up their homes and raising their own families. This trend has been redefining what constitutes a family and how a family should be defined. I have seen same-sex parents with wonderful families and I have no problem accepting them. But I am still trying to wrap my mind and my heart around the idea of same-sex marriage.
In the end, I guess the question is whether love is the moving force behind all these changes and developments. I have met people, living alone, who do great things for others either through their work or their social engagements. They show great love for others. Yet because of a variety of reasons, they have chosen to live alone. I have seen gay people living together as one great family, often with more palpable love than in the homes of hetero couples. They are happy homes, full of love.
A family is where love grows. And where people live together in love, there is a family. Family may primarily be determined by blood. But in the end, family is about the people we have chosen to love.