Exploring the Social Imagination

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Nuclear Family and 'Father' in the Social Imagination!

One of the best articles I have read out there lately besides maybe one of my own on the same or similar topic, I paste here. Why? Because, we as human beings need to remind ourselves that we do have and share in a common thread its called 'family' and sadly it is labeled as irrelevant and outdated. A couple of years ago when I was still teaching at university, I tried to discuss how important  family is to society and how it is the first introduction to society we have. The socialization process begins with parents as in mother and father...the nuclear family at the helm. The socialization of a person begins with parents that is in terms of mother and father and their expected roles which are vital to that basic structure called family and equally vital as the foundation of the wider society regarding its stability and continuity.

Upon hearing this, the students stood up and screamed its not fair, who should tell anyone how to behave and what to do. Society should just be accepting and nice. Really, whose nice and or according to who - you? Who are you these days, if not for your father and mother...I asked?

A society without a solid foundation is destined to fail. The basic components of a stable society is the family and sadly in America and even around the world today, the family is being deconstructed.

So, without further adieu... important excerpts from an article I wish I wrote myself.


The Nuclear Family Meltdown

Who are you? What made you the way you are? What do you look like? What do you value in life? What are your hopes, dreams and goals?

A plethora of other “deep” or “probing” questions could be asked about your person—but in almost every case, you could not turn to a single event that forms the answer. This is because your life experience from the day you were conceived has helped shape the person you are today.
From a scientific perspective, many answers to the above questions would begin with your brain. According to the University of Maine, the brain starts working from the beginning of life: “Brain cells are ‘raw’ materials—much like lumber is a raw material in building a house, and a child’s experiences and interactions help build the structure, put in the wiring, and paint the walls. Heredity (nature) determines the basic number of ‘neurons’ (brain nerve cells) children are born with, and their initial arrangement.

“At birth, a baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons, roughly as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way, and almost all the neurons the brain will ever have. The brain starts forming prenatally, about three weeks after conception. Before birth, the brain produces trillions more neurons and ‘synapses’ (connections between the brain cells) than it needs. During the first years of life, the brain undergoes a series of extraordinary changes.”
From a young age, you were like a sponge, soaking up your environment—sounds, shapes, lights, faces, voices, languages, music, emotions, etc. As you grew, more complex things impacted your world, ultimately developing who you are today—parents, other caregivers, siblings, friends, education, physical environment, etc.
Now ask: which individuals were most responsible for your developmental years of life? For most readers, the answer is a father and mother.
For millennia, this has been the cycle of the family unit: A man and woman come together in marriage. They have children. They care for their children and teach them how to live. The children grow up, take what they have learned, and live their own lives, usually becoming parents. And thus, the cycle continues.
That cycle is quickly falling apart. The social experiments of the 20th and 21st centuries—which have attempted to redefine the roles of parent and child—have caused the family to come under assault. One of the most profound changes that has resulted is that families are increasingly becoming fatherless.

The Facts

Over the last 50 years, more and more children have been growing up without their fathers. The role of a father should, simply from a mathematical perspective, be one that contributes 50 percent to the development of any child. But millions of children in the United States, and the world at large, will put their heads on a pillow tonight in a home without one.
Notice these statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau:
  • “Between 1991 and 2009, children living with only their mother increased from 21 percent to 24 percent.”
  • “Of the 74.6 million children younger than 18 in 2011…27 percent lived with one parent…”
  • Over 17 million children live without a father.
Think about the last point. Seventeen million children are growing up without a father figure—without the teaching, guiding, experience-building, correcting and nurturing that a father can bring. When you see 20 children, realize that five are not living with their father.
In the 1950s, the term “nuclear family” was coined. This essentially described a family of a father, mother and children. This was to distinguish from an “extended family,” which could include grandparents, or others. By the 1960s, 80 percent of America’s children lived with two married parents—today under 70 percent do.
Clearly, the nuclear family is facing a meltdown. Where will it end? What impact will this have on millions of minds—generation after generation?

Your Responsibility

Fathers, you were asked at the beginning of this article, “Who are you?”The answer to this question lies in the actions you take in addition to the choices your parents made. You must ask, who will your children become? You have the potential to create human beings who will succeed, make the right decisions, have their own happy families—and in the end, reach their ultimate potential.
You have brought children into the world, and properly rearing them is your responsibility. All the physical possessions you gain in your life, the riches and the material things, are not permanent. But your children will live on, and they, in turn, will also have children, who will have children, and so on. The parenting decisions you make now will affect generations to come.

*The Nuclear Family must still be hidden deep in our social imagination as being important as we still put the nuclear family in the whitehouse and will likely continue to though the selection offered is not ideal, the components remain. EfG

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