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Meaning of Family

Last updated Jul 28, 2022

I’ve been thinking about what that word “Family” means. I was trying to come up with a concise definition of what it could possibly mean, and how you could put it into words. I was talking with someone who is not of the same blood and whose relationship with me has shifted into more of a family bond when the definition came clearly to me.

The measure of family is a bond with one person or many whose support and presence is uplifting and enriching in a way that counteracts the conflicts, struggles, and difficulties in life, in spite of the squabbles and problems within that system. I may argue with you, and be angry with you for some reason, but all that falls away as irrelevant the moment something has hurt you because not only are you important to me, but how you are, who you are, and how healthy your life as a whole is, is important to me.

The hurt experienced by one is shared, and the healing is taken up by one or many in that family system. Even in situations where one specific individual is less capable of offering assistance, that same individual holds concern for, and care of, the one who has been hurt. The achievements of anyone are celebrated as a whole, and the good fortune is automatically shared among this system of family.

Family for some can look like a tree of trees, sprawling out in multiple directions. For others, it’s a single node (you) connected to a series of trees. It may even be small, with 1 node connected to 1 other node, or 1 node connected to many, but those many are not connected with one another. Family is a unique, individual experience that can be shared across many individuals.

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