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Posts Tagged ‘Non-Traditional’

What Is Family?

In Awards, Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal on June 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Not long ago, I got into a discussion with a friend about the term “family.”  My friend is in college and was telling me about one of her classes in which they discuss controversial topics and the idea of “traditional verses non-traditional” was one of these topics.  Her view-point was surprising to me as she explained what her response in her class had been.  When she was a child, she thought that all families were the same.  All families had a mother and a father and that was it.  I searched my brain, but could never remember a time in which I also thought that all families were the same as mine.  But I quickly realized that was because I saw it every day.  I was raised by my mother alone, and most of my friends were being raised by both parents – the “traditional” family – so I always knew that there were different kinds of families.  Until I reached college, I had never heard the terms “traditional” or “non-traditional.”  I had never given it a second thought and my initial reaction to these terms was somewhat biting.  Being labeled a “non-traditional family” seemed almost like being excluded from some prestigious group, like any time that term was said, the say-er had an automatic distasteful tone.

I remember being in a family studies class probably more than 5 years ago.  I was never the type to draw attention to myself.  I took my notes and bided my time until class was over, making mental notes of points that the conversation brought up so I could use them later during open answer tests.  But on this one day, I knew I had to speak up.  My stomach was in knots and my brain kept saying “What the hell are you doing?!” But I raised my hand.  I demanded the attention of all my classmates to respond to a woman’s statement that children from non-traditional families are cheated out of a real family, that non-traditional families are detrimental to the development of a child.  My response was simple: “I disagree 100%.  I was raised by a single mother.  My father played no part in my upbringing, and I have no doubt that I am a better person because of that.  I was never cheated.  I never felt that I missed opportunities or missed out on a part of my life because of that.  If it wasn’t for the way my mother raised me independently, I could possibly not even be here now.  I understand that studies often show that children of single parent homes are more susceptible to learning problems, to lower socio-economic status, etc., but this is not always the case.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I disagree with generalized statements such as that.”  Needless to say, the woman tried to eat her words, obviously flustered in thinking she had offended me.

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