Family, The Defining of

Family – [fam-uh-lee, fam-lee] – Noun: All those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor. (as stated when searched on

Wow! That is a rather broad way of looking at the meaning, isn’t it? How far back does one go to define who was the common progenitor? Do any of us really think of the definition of “family” that way? I know I don’t. I mean think about it, depending on the start of the line of that common progenitor, one would have to start on January 1st and tirelessly work non stop just to get all the family holiday cards out on time. Okay, so lets narrow this down some.

Family – Any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

That is getting closer to how people think of the word family right? We start drawing the common progenitor line at the person known as “Grandparent” or even “Great Grandparent”. It does cut that family holiday card list down a bit. However, there is part of the definition that does not work for me, “closely related by blood”. Maybe it is because some people I am closely related by blood, are not part of my life. Now before you start thinking, ooh boy, here we go with the “broken home syndrome thing”. Let me pause in saying, I do not subscribe to the notion of blaming our parents for things we do in our adult lives. There is a reason why, even in nature, there is a time when it is up to the individual to make decisions on their own or die.

Family to me is defined not by whom my common progenitor is or was. Family to me is not defined as someone with the title of “Grandparent” or even brother, uncle, aunt or cousin. I did and do have those people in my life that hold such titles and I think of them as family. Just as I did and do know people who too hold such titles and yet I don’t think of them as family.

For me, the defining of the word family is: any person that willingly and repeatedly decide to attempt to be part of another’s life, in a positive way, and allow for that other to willingly and repeatedly attempt to do the same. That to me is a better definition of family. The give and take of attempts from each of us in the hopes to make life fulfilling in a positive way.


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