Family. For some, the word family evokes images of two parents lovingly doting on their child or gatherings of loved ones who shower us with praise, laughter, and unconditional love. For others, the word ‘family’ evokes an unspeakable burden of shame because of a missing parent or a group of people we are embarrassed to be associated with.
In the media, the conversation about family usually centers around absentee fathers, single parent households, and the ills that are a byproduct of each of those realities. Although these problems are a concern for us, it is time to broaden our conversations about our families.
Some would have us believe that our families are in decline and the situation is beyond hope or repair. It is the continuation of a narrative that turns a blind eye to the flourishing two parent households within our community and the families that take nontraditional forms who want to be respected as whole and complete and legitimate in their formation.
No matter how they are comprised, the primary function of families is to provide safety, security, and a sense of belonging. Our bloodline may have given us one family, but we are able to name and claim a family of our own choosing based on relationships that nurture and strengthen us.
The task is to find the value in our families – in their brokenness, in their unique formations, and in their wholeness.