Sunday, March 6, 2011

What is Family?

If you were to Google "what is family?" you would get about 1,460,000,000 results.  

According to an imperfect Wikipedia article, "In human context, a family (from Latin: familiare) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children. "

The key point here is about children.  Children need a stable, healthy environment in which to learn and grow.  Without sounding cliché, I feel it is important to state that children are our future.  If they are nurtured and taught well, they will be responsible, well-balanced members of society.  If they are led by good examples, they will be ready to take on their roles in their own families, communities and our beautiful world.

Last night, two of the offspring and I watched The Kids Are All Right on Rogers on Demand.  It was a welcomed form of entertainment after a cold, wet afternoon of slogging around slushy streets to view our future community and a potential new home.

The family portrayed in the movie was certainly unconventional and non-traditional.  The story though encourages us to ask the question about family.  Can a family consist of children and two parents of the same gender?  Can a family be headed by a single parent?  Can it be one parent and one child?

In my novel The Year of the Rabbit, young Sera is presented with this question as her own family makeup changes as do the ones around her.  She struggles to understand while she loses and gains family members.

I have been the head of my own family as a single parent for seven years.  It hasn't been easy but is much more preferable to what we lived with for many years prior.  Although we have had emotional struggles and hurdles, I am hopeful that we can continue as a healthy, loving family.  

The kids are all right.

International Women's Day March 8th

"International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies." (Details)

In some parts of the world, women are still struggling for basic rights like education, health and safe birth control. This week I was horrified to hear about security forces shooting women during a peaceful protest in Ivory Coast. (story link).  I was uplifted to hear of The Middle East feminist revolution (story link)

How can we as civilized men and women demonstrate peacefully our wishes for a healthier, safer co-existence? Can we trade in misogynistic ways for those of a more cooperative time

On this Women's Day and every day, what must we teach little girls, young girls and women around the world? From a philosophical perspective this March 8th, you may be interested in hearing about the Four Faces of the Feminine Identity (Venus, Athena, Demeter, Hera)

I recall the the words of Canadian musician Damhnait Doyle in one of my favourite songs: "I should teach the little girls to scream before it's too late to be heard" (List of Things / Shadows Wake Me CD)

In my up-coming novel The Year of the Rabbit, readers will meet characters who represent the hopeful girl child, the passionate, strong woman and the wise, patient crone.  Come read about Sera who tries to make sense of her lonely world as she misses her lost friend and clings to hope as she loses people close to her one by one.  Meet Aunt Georgette, a strong and passionate woman and unlikely role model.  Meet wise older women like Edith George and Rachelle Johnson.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of awareness and compassion in the 1970's community, it was too late for one little girl to be heard...

Have a peaceful and loving Women's Day.