“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten” is a quote from a children’s movie called Lilo and Stitch. It was a movie that I quite enjoyed, and had an interesting point. Stitch was a lab experiment who ended up becoming a chosen member of a family. Now why is this important, well because family, whether by blood or choice should always be chosen.
The first type of family is the one we are born into. We don’t have a choice of which family we are born in. Its basically the luck of the draw. Many people will claim that because you share blood with all the members of this family that you owe them something for the rest of your life. This would be far from the truth.
Some members of the “birth family” as I will call them from now on can be, neglectful or outright abusive. As an autonomous individual, you don’t owe anyone who is terrible towards you anything. So while you might share blood, you don’t have to be family.
Now lets get to the second type of family, the “chosen family” Now this type of family can be broken into two parts, child/parent relationships, and partners. Adoption is a common thing in our society, and while I would love to see adoption set up in a more youth controlled way ((Something I will explain in another article)), explaining how it works now still makes a good point.
Even though the adopted child doesn’t share blood, a parent chooses to allow this person to be part of the family. Some people think that because they don’t share blood, it makes the connection much weaker, but if this is true, why do couples exist.
Couples are also a form of chosen family. For example if a man and woman, man and man, or whatever you chose to partner up with and be in a relationship with. You form a chosen family. This is because you found someone you care about and chose to forma family with. You share a connection and have a self interest to be with them. So when we look at adoption, if both the child and parents have a self interest and love for each other, it can build a bond stronger than a blood family which is abusive.
The third type of family, which is another form of chosen family, are the “Friendly Family.” This is the type of family in which friends mean so much to you, you consider them as relatives. Sometimes friends or comrades can be a better family than a blood family, because of the shared interest and that they are always there for you.
Now I am not try to dis on blood family, because many blood families are amazing and hold a very special bond. They look out for each other and never harm each other, but you still choose to be a part of that family. So what is a point to family, well….
A Family is a unit that has a purpose. If it didn’t fulfill a purpose then it would have no reason to exist, I personally feel it has many purposes and will list a few of the following.
- Helpfulness. a family is meant to cover each others weakness. No one is perfect at everything, and everyone needs some help doing something. With a family people can help each other.
- Companionship. is something every human needs. No one can truly be alone all the time. When you have people who truly care about you, it does wonders for your mental health.
- Protection. not everyone has the strength or power to protect themselves. With a family, you have members who can look out for the weaker members of the group.
- Knowledge. You can learn something off anyone. Parents can learn of their kids. Sisters of their brothers, and sometimes a mother can learn off a child. Sharing knowledge benefits everyone.
Those are just a few of the reasons families exist. The modern family idea is damaged though. Some members think you owe it to them, be it time or money just because you are family, or that someone can control you just because you are related.
Family should be something that benefits everyone involved. It should not be a form of oppression or abuse, in which the stronger members can control or abuse others. Family should be a shared unit, one you chose to be a part of to share love and compassion.
As long as we see one part of the family as property, or too dumb and young to have rights, I mean the children, we will never have family as it is suppose to be. A unit of shared love, protection and goodness. One where all benefit, and one we chose to be a part of. ((Join me next time as I tackle my 1st article on Children and Autonomy for more details and a continuation of this one))