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Aside from the ritual of marriage, we also have rituals for birth and adoption to define who belongs and who does not.Together, these rituals help to give structure to our family life and give societal sanction to our relationships.
Cultures like that of ancient Sparta that tried to break the importance of family by having children raised communally by the government ultimately failed because, in the end, no one cares as much about us as our families, and through a combination of socialization and genetics, no one will do more for us than our families.
Therefore, when we consider the role of family in our lives we can stop and realize that family is truly the backbone that keeps us on track and working toward the goal of a full, rich and satisfying life.
In our youth, family gives us the structure we need to thrive and the support to grow into the people that we will become. The older generation passes on, and a new generation is born.
This gradual transition provides the structure for our lives as we move from one stage to the next, from son to father to grandfather and daughter to mother to grandmother.
These close friends provide support, love, and comfort even when our birth families do not.
Overall, family is an important and essential component of social organization.
At each stage, we look toward our family to provide our motivation and our reason for going the extra mile to achieve our goals. Nevertheless, even those of us who do not have a traditional family experience some of the support that family can provide by developing families of choice.
However, not everyone will move through all of these stages or have the kind of strong family relationships that our society believes to be ideal. Families of choice are those individuals whom we accept as family members even though they may not be so by law or blood.
That is what unites us – our love and interest in each other.
We are really alike in every particular, but most of all – in the attitude towards family and its values.