Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to good old fashioned family values?
Or should I say, the concepts of both love and family?
It seems our society is on opposite ends of the spectrum when in comes to love, appreciation and respect for family and family values.
Take mine for example. ... Back in the 80's and 90's my family used to hop into my brother-in-law's Chrysler Plymouth and take weekend road trips together to Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Virginia Beach.
We would stay at hotels and visit national landmarks, monuments, parks and always stop by the beach -- after all, that's what made the trips worthwhile for us kids!
Sadly, I can't remember the last time we had a trip like that.
I just know that if I called everyone up now, they would say they're too busy, didn't have the money or wasn't getting along with this person and didn't want to be near them.
As a single mom of a 7-year-old, I realize that my son hasn't had those family trips and I wonder if he'll ever have the same great family memories I did. I recently read an article online which suggested that we change the institution of marriage to a temporary renewable contract. I first thought, "that's crazy!"
The article stated that due to the high and continually rising divorce rate that marriage be entered into as a contract that after 5 years, either the husband or wife can choose to renew or not. If either chooses not to do so, the dissolution would take place much quicker because the contract was now null and void. This would be a less time consuming and inexpensive way to divorce rather that the current process. Already, society is at a place where a commitment such as marriage isn't taken seriously from the start; and as a result more and more children are being raised by single mothers and are living in blended families, and now this?
Is it wrong to still believe in love and family?
I loved the expectations of life during the age of the baby boomers. Then, people were expected to find a mate, get married, procreate and live out the "until death do us part" vow.
Now, most women don't even know if they want to get married at all.
I know because I've asked all my single friends and they're no longer sure. I personally am no longer sure if I want to. I've passed my personal life plan age that I was "supposed" to wed, which was 25 yrs old. I am not even dating or looking to date. Like most single women, I'm afraid to date or marry for fear that I'll end up another statistic in divorce court or even worse yet just used and discarded. Both men and women in today's society seem to just want to hook up and have casual relationships.
The concept of being faithful /loyal and especially marriage seems lost. Not everyone wants children anymore and some people are putting their needs before their children's, which they feel is their God given right. Seems as a whole we've redefined love and marriage, hence we have redefined family as well. I still think the premise of that article is ridiculous and I hope it never comes to fruition. If it did, I believe as a society we would lose even more.
Most great nations were founded on the concept of family values, which extends to the institution of marriage.
Even the Pilgrims founded America with that in mind.
I believe that everything begins at home by teaching children and showing them love and what family is all about: Planning family trips together, sharing holidays and occasions, supporting each other, and most of all, unconditional love.
This is the perfect time of year to reconnect with loved ones. Hopefully this will then transcend down to the rest of society and maybe then we can start to revisit a place when people celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary to the same person that they've been in love with and woke up next to, day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
Tracey Hyde is a home visitor with Family Centers' Nurturing Families Network. With offices in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and New Canaan, Family Centers is a United Way partner agency that offers counseling and support programs for children, adults and families. Family Centers is also affiliated with the Community Fund of Darien. For information, call 203-869-4848 or visit www.familycenters.org.