There’s always been a lot of talk about what makes a family. Now that times are changing and more people are coming to realize that the traditional components of a nuclear family are not what we once thought they were, the view of what makes up a family is changing too.
I believe the most important component to any family is love. Without love, support, and compassion a group of people who live together is just a group, not a family. Family loves you without conditions and provides support when you are struggling. They offer compassion and try their best to be understanding of each other’s goals. When a member of the family, or the family as a whole, is faced with an obstacle, true families stick together and persevere.
The type of people involved have nothing to do with who makes up the family. It could easily be two men, two women, siblings, even friends. There could be children, or not. Children could be biological, adopted, or blended from past marriages. There could be legal documents binding the members together, or not. The family could own their home – or they could rent. They may even live with extended family to make up a bigger family unit.
What families don’t do is judge and criticize. A family is not a unit who puts you down and makes you feel bad about yourself. A family unit is not cruel and their love for you does not depend on the life choices you make. Sure, families who love and support you want the best for you. They don’t want you to make bad decisions that lead to a bad life. But choices like who you choose to marry (in healthy, non-abusive relationships) are not put down or judged. Things like sexual preference, race, religion, and politics are not taken into consideration. The character of one’s heart and the content of the soul are what matter.
So what is a family? It’s love. Support. Guidance. Acceptance. A hug when words don’t suffice. A shoulder to lean on when life throws a curveball you weren’t ready for. Family is realizing that life is not perfect but as long as you have each other, it’s doable. Even enjoyable and can be pure happiness. Family is a group of people who make you want to be better, not just for yourself, but for those you love. Family pushes you to try new things when you’re scared and they offer to catch you when you stumble.
Simply put, family is love. What/who makes up your family?