So, my grandmother’s birthday got me thinking about how much life has changed (or at least how we go about living our lives). How once upon a time things seemed slower and yet seemed every bit as advanced – at the time. I suppose I should have seen it coming considering an earlier blog (I remember) got me thinking short term on the changes I’ve been through.

But how is all this change really affecting us? How is our society coping with its sense of family?

I suppose one way of looking at it is to lament the loss of a close and tight knit family structure, or what they used to call the “Nuclear family“. How much has changed since then? Not much on the very surface of it. Consider the definition of who makes up the nuclear family:  parents, children, and grandparents. So, other than grandparents, and lets face it so many live on their own now days, not much has really changed in the structure of the family. So where does all this talk of the destruction of the family unit come from? If not much has changed in what was considered the optimal family “structure” then where are they coming from?

Its been said that parents aren’t really raising their children anymore; between work, activities, vacations, etc… that parents are spending quality time with their kids. How many times have you been out somewhere and heard the remark? But has this really changed too? Has there never before in the history of our society been a time when parents were working? When kids didn’t play organized sports? Did families NOT go on vacations and everyone got some time to theirselves? Just asking…

Maybe its the technology… While its true that for some people technology can have the affect of shielding them from others (family, friends, etc…); and who hasn’t heard that too much time on Facebook can be bad? Online gaming (yes… world of warcraft), online communities and the like can make people insulated from the day to day interaction which is a bad thing. Remember the old saying about 3 hugs a day? Well, its pretty well grounded psychology (the its tough to see Harlow’s work in progress it does say a lot about the kind of creatures we are). Maybe you feel that as technology and society move on its almost inevitable that the family unit dissolves and becomes more detached, kind of like the movie Avalon.

Personally, I see it as a way to draw family closer. To be sure, there will be those who will use technology to keep themselves and others at a distant – but heck, don’t you just know they’re the ones who let everyone’s call go to voicemail anyway. Too much of ANYTHING is bad (my dad was right on this one too).

No matter how spread out we seem to get technology has the advantage of holding us together, even expanding our family. Sites like Ancestry.com and other sites have made it easier to track down our heritage and in some cases long lost family. Community sites like Facebook and Classmates have made staying in touch with everyone a LOT easier – there are those who will remember that we USED to PAY for long distance calls. Even cell phone technology has made it easier to keep in touch with family members no matter where they are.

So, times they are a-different but people are still the same. Maybe its time more of us got our families together for a reunion, or family get together – cousins and all. Text a family member you haven’t really talked to since you were younger. Its easier to do now than ever before thanks to technology.

What do you think?

Cheers!

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