When people hear the word family they usually think of a mother, father, and their children. Traditionally, a family is pictured as living in one household. Over time, these ideas of what family is, has changed for different reasons. Today, it has become extremely difficult to come up with any definition of what family is. My idea of family, society’s idea of family and the dictionary’s definition for family are all different in small ways.
New Webster’s Dictionary defines family on page 82 as household; the parents and children alone; the children as distinguished from the parents; kindred; line of ancestors; honorable descent. To me this definition is telling us family is people together in one house or those who are related by blood. This definition would include your mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and any ancestors coming from the same family. A Webster Dictionary 1913, off of the internet also mentions family as a fundamental unit in the organization of society. This definition would include anything from a single person to a large group that functions together in society.
In today’s society, the way families look is very different from the way they used to. Today instead of a traditional mother, father, and children living together, we see single parents, step-parents, step-siblings, grandparents, or any other possible combination of people living together. Some people may not agree with these ideas of what families are, but you have to ask “What makes up a family?”. Is it the relationship through blood, or just the fact that people come together and care for one another. Some people may believe you don’t have to be related or even live together to be family, and all it takes is a close personal bond.
To me family can be considered many things. On one hand I have my mother, father, brother and sister, who I’d consider my immediate family. But I also have a step-father, step-brother, and step-sister, who are also part of my family. Another part of family to me would be my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, who I would call extended family. And then unlike all the people I’m related to, I consider my girlfriend’s family my own since I feel so close to them. So for me I’d have a difficult time looking for one definition of what family really is.
I’m not sure whether the dictionary’s definition, society’s definition, or my idea of family is right. Maybe there is no right definition, or maybe they’re all right, but it probably depends on the individual. When talking about family, there are strong emotions involved, since these are the people you care most about. One thing is for sure, family means people that you love. So maybe all it takes to be family with someone, is a little loving care.