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The Meaning of Family

By Detra Davis

It has been many years since we have experienced the true meaning of family in the media. Years ago there were television programs that offered however so gently, honest, home grown values, beliefs and characters so true you felt like they were family. What happen to the days of watching sincere people, portray honorable characters and live humble lives? Is it old fashion to still enjoy the Andy Griffith Show, the Waltons, and the Cosby Show?

Deep inside most people there is a profound desire to hold on to the safe security that accompanies knowing nice, sweet, caring, none threatening people, even if they are only on television. This may be why Oprah remains cherished in the hearts and minds of her viewers after twenty years. She is as Dr. Phil would say, "a soft place to fall despite that fact we must experience her via the "idiot box as my dad once called it.

What we see most in those television programs is that innocent sense of togetherness, dare I say that sense of family. first defines family as "a fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children." It is the second definition that is perhaps more accurate however, defining a family as "two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place."

Is a grandmother living with her adult son and her drug addicted daughter's three children a family? Definition number one would say no, but definition number two would agree unequivocally. In fact we can take the definition one step further and say a family is "two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, may reside usually in the same dwelling place and believe that the spirit and meaning of family exist through good times and bad."

A real family fights and makes up, argues and agrees to disagree and loves unconditionally. As we step into 2006 remember that you define your family every day by your actions, your words, your belief and your unconditional love or lack of. The Chinese called the year 2006 the Year of the Dog, I propose to call it the year of the family and ask that we begin to invest, build and commit to developing loving caring families. Nothing beats a failure but a try. Let's try.

About The Author

Detra D. Davis is a certified Parent Educator with the North Carolina Parent Network and has been a writer for over 25 years. Visit her website, a membership site supporting parents, schools, parent organizations and support groups that encourage parent education and parent involvement.

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