Within the past century, decade by decade the family structure splintered piece by piece, and, in some cases, spread itself to the four corners of the world. When the children grew up to spread their wings they couldn’t get far enough away from Mom and Dad. “Independence” became the motto of the day. “Doing your own thing,” was cool. Unfortunately, something happened to the family along the road to Nirvana…it slammed into a brick wall. In a perfect world, distance and space between family members could be a good thing, but Life has a strange way of throwing cold water on a formula that doesn’t work over time.
I’m sure we all have our horror stories of family members who went adrift and did bad deeds….but were we quite prepared to enter into financial and emotional relationships with strangers? What am I getting at? Well check this out….two brothers may have a hard time owning a house together, but have no problem becoming a partner in a condo or co-op with a group of people they don’t even know. Whether we care to admit it or not, condos and co-ops are business arrangements that are shared, and if something goes wrong, all are liable. So while we’re running from our families, we have landed and embraced relationships unfamiliar to us. While in the past families would pool their money together to purchase property and items, that money over time has been diluted and reduced to less buying power. The tribal family has become franchised.
Welcome to 2007….where people are starting to reverse the trend. I’ve begun reading where it is now becoming not uncommon for brothers and sisters to pool their money together to buy townhouses, two-family houses, and believe it or not, country inns. They woke up one morning and realized, “Hey, we can buy better and more if we pool our money together.” But can you really trust your family? Or do you have an easier time trusting strangers? In the olden days when a family member got out of line, the head of the family called a meeting and solved the problem. If a condo or co-op can have an elected board, why can’t a family? What was once scorned and frowned upon, is now starting to be considered an option, once again. Family used to be business, and finance…it just may become that once again.
While many of us in the past set out to try to reinvent the wheel, we may be just finding out that the wagon can run quite well with the wheels we already have. Maybe they just need a little oil and grease from time to time…but vintage doesn’t have to be a dirty word. The family structure is the glue that keeps a nation together…without it, over time, we crumble. I think many are coming Full Circle taking what they’ve learned, and applying it to the family structure and realizing that the best quality of life is when the family is strong, governed, and nurtured. We may return to the days where around one table Grandparents, parents, and children see themselves as friends, not enemies.
© 2007 Jennifer Avalon