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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Locatedness: Family


The industrial age was the tipping point for the decline of traditional communities. The movement from rural, family centered towns to urban settings centered around career would chance the definition of family forever. For thousands of years lives were centered around a Victorian ideal of family. You had a mother, a father (who was the provider), and as many children as the home could hold. In most cases you lived next to grandparents and within miles of aunts and uncles.

Again, nothing wrong with this idea of family. However, I believe the 20th century took this noun-form of family and blew it to pieces. The idea of a static, uniform family as described above is rare. Less than 17% of homes today have a mother, father, and two or more children. Today "family" is much more liquid and difficult to define.

Over my 24 years of life, my home has included 3 moms, 3 dads, and 7 brothers and sisters. This is without acknowledging the many years with roommates who may have served as brothers. Family looks different for me as I believe it does for many of you.

And in reference to our place-ology theme, there is clearly a connection between place and the desire for family. Walter Brueggemann says, "The yearning to belong somewhere, to have a home, to be in a safe place, is a deep and moving pursuit...It is experienced by people from all sectors of society and even those who appear to be well rooted and have belonging can experience profound dislocation." Even those with family roots can experience profound dislocation. This highlights that the Victorian model of family is not the 21st century definition of family. That even in rootedness we can feel without community.

It may not be real helpful for me to continue to talk about what family isn't. Rather, I would like to say that Taryn and I wish to explore what family is in our next move.

Taryn and I are thankful for our family, extended and nuclear. Yet we have experienced a sense of family with tens of friends who now live all over our country. So as we consider where we will go, we ask: where do we belong? Who are our people? Who do we want to be our everyday family?

Just another thing to consider.

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E. B. Bauman said...

Pick me! Seriously!

Julie said...

I need Taryn to help me raise my baby. BABIES, Taryn. BABIES. Pick us! :)

mommy is my name said...

Hehehe...well, you know, the Tarrs & Shorts may be starting a little community in Indiana...You coulda always join up :)

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