Some theaters will have a special showing on May 15th, therefore I am publishing this article earlier than I had intended.
There are many definitions for ‘family’. Most of the top definitions always mention parents and children. Here are some I found in four separate dictionaries.
· Parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
· The children of one person or one couple collectively.
· The spouse and children of one person
· A group of persons, consisting of parents and their children.
What the definitions do not do are to describe the parents or the children. So we could ask, “What should a family look like?” A very controversial question, indeed. But if you think about it, a family should have certain characteristics.
· Adults, preferably two, knowledgeable and skilled in how to raise children
· Loving, but not necessarily perfect, relationships among and between parents and children
· Open, honest, and constant communication
· An emphasis on structure and education
If these characteristics are in place, then little else matters. The children could be adopted. The parents could be of the same sex. It could be a second marriage with children thrown together. There is no doubt in my mind that these characteristics would work for any style of family.
I have to admit, however, that if I were given the power to choose the make-up of a family, there would be a mother and father, married to each other, and all the children would be brought up by both of them from birth. While some of you are nodding your head, others are in passionate disagreement.
To those nodding your head, we have to admit that we can’t dictate how families form. An ideal is just that and what’s real is what we have to deal with. Fathers don’t always hang around. Women don’t always like the fathers. Some children lose both parents by death or abandonment. Would not two dads or two moms be better than one or none? Would not a child adopted into a good family have a much better life than living in an institution? What’s better for a child is always a goal. There is no doubt that some gay couples are much better parents than some traditional parents. Many mixed marriages can work better than the ones from which they came.
To those that disagree with my idea of an ideal family, don’t take offense. You see, I am only minimizing potential negatives and maximizing potential positives. Two parent households produce more successful children statistically and realistically. With both a mother and a father, we have a balance. A dad gives boys a male example to follow, and teaches girls how to be loved and treated by a man. A mom gives the feminine understanding girls need, and she teaches boys how to treat and be around women.
What does a family look like? It looks like the view through a kaleidoscope. Different pieces with their own shapes and colors, merging, clashing, blending, always turning, always changing.
So what should a family look like? There is no one answer, but in my mind, a successful family is loving, teaching, understanding, and structured, no matter the make-up of the kaleidoscope.
"What do you think a family should look like? I would love to hear from you in the comments."