What is Family?
Defining the concept of family is difficult because it can have various meanings to different people. It may mean those who are immediate relatives, as being in love, providing security, socialization, or something completely different. The United States Census Bureau (2010) defines family as a, “Primary social group involving social or generational alliances, permanence, concern for the total person, heightened emotionality, caring for one another, mutual goals, an altruistic orientation to members, and a governance approach that is nurturing.” Freidman, Bowden and Jones (2003) also states family is composed of persons joined together by bonds of marriage, blood, or ...view middle of the document...
Family is someone who supports your decisions and love you for who you are. There are clearly many different and very personal definitions of family.
My Experiences With Family
After researching and listening to the opinions on how my family, friends, coworkers and journal articles define family, I began thinking about how I would define family. My family means the whole world to me; they are the most important people in my life. Looking back on my experiences as a child, I grew up in a traditional Tibetan family in India. I view this family as a perfect family, just as the first picture below depicts.
I was the most fortunate of all the siblings, and was the most pampered by my parents. I was sent to a private school which I know was very expensive. They never judged my actions, but always advised me not to make mistakes that will cause any regrets. They encouraged me to keep going in life, to be successful, professional and to make them proud. As a young girl who was always sheltered from the outside world of misery, I had no notion of children having no mother or father, step mother or step father. However, as I grew older, and misfortune fell upon my life, I began to change my view of family.
Unfortunately at the age of 16 my father became ill and he wanted to see me married happily before anything happen to him. I was not prepared for this, but I felt obligated and did not want to disappoint my father. He had given me all his love, which I can still feel to this day. Thus, at this very young age, I got married to his friend’s son and immigrated to Winnipeg. I had to familiarize myself with a brand new family, which included his parents, a different life style and culture. It was a change that was very difficult to adjust to. Then at the age of 18, I became pregnant and thereafter had the three most beautiful and wonderful children.
It was not until I had my own family and experienced the changes that come with different and difficult circumstances that I started to form my own definition of family. After many years of living in a joint family with my in-laws, things unfortunately slowly fell apart. My father-in-law died in 1999 and my only source of emotional, “collaborative decision maker” (p.19) and physical support, my husband passed away in 2007. This was the biggest blow to me. I was broken inside and out. I stayed off of work for a couple of months but then decided I needed to be strong for my children who were still in school. I knew I was their only source of strength and motivation.
I started back to work but soon realised that working abroad would provide a better means for the rest of my family. I could support them better from going away to another country for a few years. I found a job and left for Saudi Arabia in July 2009. Because of this, I managed to put each of my children through university, and they are now all successful. Without them, I may not have survived the loss of my husband. They are my strength,...