Definition of the Family

Definition of the Family

By Breaunna Stone

It seems that from the beginning of time, the family has been described as a mother, a father, and their children. In most cases, many remember the father as being named the breadwinner while the mother reared her children in the home.

Today it is clear that many Americans’ mindsets have changed from what used to be the norm. The definition of what the family is and what the family means is far from what is used to be. It is true; there is no single kind of American family. American families today are more diverse than ever.

Even what many consider to be the customary or “traditional” family may not be as traditional as one would expect. In an ABC News article, Kat Rice summarizes an interview with Stephanie Coontz, a college professor of family and history, explaining how “the 1950’s model of the family is a myth” in the sense that families have not always had such rigid and exclusive roles that we assume have always been in place, such as the male breadwinner and female homemaker. Coontz asserts, “For most of history, families have been co-provider families, with husband, wife and often children, all working to provide for the family.”

While certain roles may have shifted and adapted to different events and periods in society (such as the industrial revolution), the general definition and makeup of the family has remained stable—until recently.

To what, then, do we owe the increased number of divorce, abortion, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and crime? There are numerous factors that contribute to the downfalls that ail our society, but the disintegration of the true traditional family is a big contributing factor.

Studies have shown that the economy, poverty, education, teen pregnancy, and crime can all be positively impacted by keeping the family containing one mother, one father, legally and lawfully wedded, living together with their children, intact.

The World Family Declaration states: “We declare that the family, a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman, is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity…Gravely concerned by the escalating calamities afflicting children and society due to the rapid decline of marriage and family, we recall the sobering observation that ‘throughout history, nations have been able to survive a multiplicity of disasters— invasions, famines, earthquakes, epidemics, depressions— but they have never been able to survive the disintegration of the family.’ We affirm the ancient wisdom that the world cannot be put in order without first putting in order the family.”

By putting the family first in our own homes, communities, societies, and countries, we take the first and vital step to put the world we live in, in order.

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