Society

Redefined family values

The family that enjoys together stays together. Photo: N. Sridharan   | Photo Credit: N. Sridharan

The decline in family values and traditions is a usual topic these days. Many mourn the loss of joy and togetherness in households today. Families today are just a breed or species minus the warmth and unity of a decade or two ago.

How true and valid is this grievance?

M. Jayakrishnan, a father of two feels, “today's lifestyle has changed everything. Many old values are being replaced.

This clash in values have led to strained family lives. Independence in women has redefined relationships between husbands and wives and the functioning of households.

Thus there is an increase in marital discord and divorces. The computer era has also affected relationships between parents and children. But at the same time when one looks around one feels a better sense of awareness is growing and families are managing to tide over and adjust to this change. They are adapting themselves to changing times and circumstances and trying to understand each other.”

It is thus said that each generation defines its own values that they feel are right and in tune with progressive times. So the future generation may redefine some of the values and traditions we hold today, as how the values of the older generation are being redefined today.

As human beings we all have an inclination to glorify and romanticise the past.

Busy lives

“The good old days”- are often pined for with longing nostalgia. Family life was believed to be perfect and utopian in the past but has deteriorated now. Yet on reflection one cannot but think otherwise. For when wife beating which was considered earlier a man's right but now a crime can such assumptions hold good? Other evils that confronted families like corporal punishment, emotional and sexual abuse, alcoholism etc were earlier endured and suffered silently. But such skeletons in the family cupboard are today discussed openly, brought into the limelight, exposed and dealt with. These positive changes have cleansed families of many ills and cruelty. Families today also have choices. They do not encroach. They respect each other's privacy and give each other space.

Yet it is often heard that today the family hardly spends time together. Everybody is busy with their own thing. Careers and professions are given priority. Home lives are neglected. Children are lonely and immersed with the computer, T.V. etc. They do not respect elders. The accusations go on.

However Sheela Manuel, a working mother feels, “it is true time spent together with children and even spouses may have diminished. But that does not mean that family values are collapsing. In today's competitive world parents send their boys and girls away to study courses of their choices. And though my elder daughter is away at another university we keep in touch everyday thanks to modern technology. We make it a point to discuss everything with her. Arguments, disagreement, rows etc are common in families. But what matters is how we tackle them. It all depends on the upbringing.”

A strong foundation is crucial it is said. Thus spouses should make extra efforts to listen, love and respect each other. A happy couple in a stable relationship provides a secure home to their children with all family values. During times when the whole family is together the family bond should be strengthened by quality time and visiting extended families etc.

Families have never been ideal and flawless nor may they ever be. Ups and downs are part of family lives. Yet family is said to be the greatest blessing in life. It forms the platform for values, principles and standards to be nurtured and developed. It moulds lives and personalities, defines the value of relationships and educates us on life. It is a unit we can always fall back on and rely. For family is strength. And while family lives may have changed under new circumstances, family love and values shall remain.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 10:24:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/redefined-family-values/article2015951.ece

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