The family is a haven in a heartless world.” Every year May 15 is celebrated as International Day of Families. Only he knows what a family is who does not have one.
This year, the theme of International Day of Families is “Advancing Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity.”
In our society the generation gap is like a disease. One generation does not value the other. The older generation thinks the young generation is heartless and restless, while the young generation thinks the older generation is out-dated. We need intergenerational solidarity in a family, society and country. All parties have to be considerate to others. If a son sees that his father does not respect his grandfather, later on he will not respect his father. “What we sow, so shall we reap.” If a husband and a wife honour each other, then their children will honour them. There is a famous saying, “Honour cannot be asked for, it has to be earned.”
If a child shows respect to his parents out of fear, that is not real respect. Parents can earn respect only for their moral values. If a family has members who feel solidarity among themselves, it can be called a real family. The members can be successful in life as they have peace of mind.
“Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space.” To enjoy family life we need everyone—father, mother, children etc. Lack of any one relation makes us feel incomplete.
There is a wise saying: “When you educate a man you educate an individual. When you educate a woman you educate a whole family.” A woman has a great role to play in keeping unity in a family, as a wife and as a mother.
“When you look at your life, the greatest happiness is family happiness.” However successful you are, if you are not happy with your family, if you don't have any peace at home, you are the poorest person. Money is important, but it is not the ultimate criterion for happiness. A rich, unhappy person is poorer than a poor but happy or satisfied person.
There is a Spanish proverb: “An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship.” Often, we find that our friends are kinder than family members, but in the end we have to come back to our family. So it is wise to make your family your best friend, where you will be always welcome whatever the situation.
A family can produce successful citizens as it is the foundation of a society. Nowadays, people define “family” in a narrow way—only husband, wife and children. We forget to think of our close relatives as family. We feel disturbed if our relatives stay for a long time in our home. “When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them,” said George Bernard Shaw.
It is not compulsory that all the family members have to be happy and satisfied with each other. Their may be quarrels. Where there is expectation, there is question of affection or quarrel. “Family quarrels are bitter things. They don't go by any rules. They're not like aches or wounds; they're more like splits in the skin that won't heal because there's not enough material.”
“Having a place to go is a home. Having someone to love is a family. Having both is a blessing.” We earn money to lead a happy life with our loved ones, or else one can live in a hotel—which is a life of less responsibility; but why do people take so much pain to make a home? It is easy to buy an apartment or villa but it is hard to make a home.
“Family—that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.” But if you fail to create a happy family, the devilish octopus of frustration, anxiety, failure will not let you escape.
Remember Leo Tolstoy's saying: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It means that to be happy all of us need the same things, but we make our life unhappy for different reasons.
In today's fast-paced world, the words “emotion,” “expectation,” “dependency” have a negative impression, and the lack of these feelings make our family life just like a hotel life, where everything is bought. Bring some emotion into your relationships, you will start to depend on others with some expectation—life will be happier and warmer.
Mother Teresa said: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Let us bring peace in our minds, then in the family, and ultimately it will make a peaceful world.
The writer is Senior Lecturer, Dept. of English, ASA University.