Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The changing role of the family

As a social unit consisting of people related by blood or by kinship, the family is and remained the oldest human institution on earth. The role of the family in raising the children is one of the most important roles. It is the first factor that influences the behavior of the children in their early childhood. It is the only institution in which members live before birth, during a lifetime and after death on other member. The individual i.e. father, mother, children, cousin e.t.c. is what makes up the unit of the family, which makes up the unit of the human s ociety.

Thus, the family can be said to be the fundamental strength of the society. And this is owing to its omniscient role of nurturing the individual with an uncommon cordiality as are absent in other institution. As a matter of fact, the human society can barely hold itself from descending into chaos without the stabilization provide by its principal unit, the family. Resonantly, the role of the family at providing the basis for early child’s socialization as well as instilling the necessary cultural pattern is the pivot of our social life. The family is also the child's source of economic resources needed for meeting various physical and emotional needs.

There is no person on earth who doesn’t belong to a family. Being a member of its three categories; nuclear, compound and extended is the anchorage for ensuring individual’s identity. We are first a product of the family before we become a member of the society. Though and ultimately, the depth of intricacies existing between the family and the society tend to consumed this identity. The twist is that, the role of the family and that of the society are twined. Whatever becomes of the individual is the direct combination of these two influences. The former kick-start the snow ball while the later spins it into a mighty avalanche.

In the ancient African setting, the families were large, and every member of the family had an important role in helping to provide the family needed. The men hunted, farmed and maybe worked at a trade. The women cared for the children, cared for the garden, and engaged in the petty commerce of making dresses, cooking, and other necessities. They also cared for the domestic animals while also serving are house-nurse to other members of the family. The children tend to provide assistance where needed or as assigned a by other elderly member.

But as we entered the third millennium and the reality of hunger, diseases and war keeps painting the gory portrait of an uncertainty future, there are growing concerns about what the role the family should be. The opinions are crossed and complicated by the different world view share by those examining the issue. Of course there are lots of changing trends that are threatening to destroy our family life. Modern technological discoveries designed to help us are also capable of stealing our family peace. There are also economics and government policies changes within and outside our countries of residence. These changes are making vices like unfaithfulness homosexuality and divorce more acceptable while eroding the very importance of the family life. Already, the precarious situation of many families in urban and rural areas, poor parents and their children are forced to work out how to survive. These pressures are exerting forces of disintegration on the family life.

How important is the family? What is its function in the present realities of our world? How both parent work? Who should offset the bills? How can parent be better empowered to cope with pressures? Are there moral justifications for parent who push their children into the street? To what extent should a family go in its attempt to survive? What role should the community play and how?

The answering of these will help resolve the burning question on what the role of the family should be in this age.

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