Newsletter Subscription

Regular Updates on Parenting, Happy Children & Emotional Intelligence

  • Latest Articles - Raising Children with Emotional Intelligence
  • New Parenting Blogs
  • Parenting Tips for Happy Children
  • Free Online Seminars
  • Popular Parenting Books & Reviews

Subscribe!

Regular Updates on Parenting, Happy Children & Emotional Intelligence

  • Latest Articles - Raising Children with Emotional Intelligence
  • New Parenting Blogs
  • Parenting Tips for Happy Children
  • Free Online Seminars
  • Popular Parenting Books & Reviews

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Unsubscribe

Blog Archives

View full Archive

Proudly Supporting

Proudly Supporting

A Family is Where Love is Abundant

By Yvette Vignando - 20th June 2011

Sitting in her New York apartment being interviewed by a New York Times journalist, Gabrielle Einhorn says that for her, a family means abundance, commitment, and the intimacy that comes from a shared history. Her child, Griffin, was conceived by an IVF sperm donation from a very close friend of hers; Griffin’s biological father’s name is George Russell and he is gay. Mr Russell has his own partner, David Nimmons. On Sundays all four of them have dinner together, and Mr Russell stays over a few nights each week to spend time with Griffin. At this point, most readers will be starting to make judgements about Griffin’s family. Is this the right thing for Griffin? Is it ideal for families to be formed in this way? How will Griffin feel about these very adult decisions once he is old enough to start thinking about his own existence and place in the world?

And I don’t claim to stand apart from you – I’m also making my judgements and forming my opinions as I read through the lengthy and interesting article in the New York Times   and watch these apparently loving people talk about their domestic arrangements.

Unless I sit down to write or get involved in deep conversation with friends, I don’t think much about what ‘family’ means.  Occasionally I think about what ‘marriage’ means, mainly because it’s topical here in Australia at the moment. Certain church groups and political parties have fairly strident views on what should be allowed when it comes to ‘marriage’; but because the term ‘family’ doesn’t affect as many laws and rituals, there seems to be less public discussion on this concept.

I consulted the Australian Bureau of Statistics for a starting point on what ‘family’ might mean in Australia. The ABS needs a definition to collect data, not because there’s an official government line on what a family should be. Here’s the ABS definition:

    'Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.'

Quite a loose and broad definition isn’t it. Griffin’s New York household is certainly a family according to this definition. It may not be your ideal family because the word ‘family’ seems to come pre-loaded with our individual emotional baggage. Understandably, the ABS definition doesn’t include the terms ‘love’ or ‘intimacy’ or ‘commitment’ – how could these be measured or judged anyway?

Yet we all have our internal measurements and judgements of the ideal family. Some of us think an ideal family requires a mother and father living in the same house; some think it requires the presence of children; others think a family is simply two people living together who love each other. And in our own families, we often don’t even live up to our own expectations of what family should be.

My definition of a family is where there is abundant love. For me, a family is where people who live together (and sometimes apart) share so much love between themselves that there is always more than enough to go around. Even when family members misbehave and disappoint each other, there is still love left to give. I was going to write a lot more about this but in the end this is the only thing I could come up with to define family in a non-exclusive way. Maybe you think it’s being too politically correct to be non-exclusive?

Have I missed something? What does family mean to you?

image freedigitalphotos.net

Member Login

Subscribe to our Blog