Family Definition Essay

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“Family” is a hard word to create a concrete definition for. If one were to ask three random people on the street, it is likely they will receive three completely different answers to defining a family. The textbook definition of family according to the etymology dictionary is: “Origin in early 15c. “servants of a household” from Latin familia “family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household.” The traditional dictionary describes family in a more narrow fashion stating, “a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.” One thing to note is that the traditional dictionary is not gender specific on who constitutes as parents, leaving the definition open…show more content…
“Servants of a household” do not necessarily encompass the bloodlines that familial ties are known for having, especially during the 15th century where this definition included actual servants of the estate. Being a servant of the household means that person is a contributing factor in the health and fortitude of the shared living space. In a social context, people tend to call any group they are working with towards a common goal under the same pressures and hardships a “family.” One may hear evidence of this in the workplace, where coworkers are often saying things like, “Everyone works so well together here, and we’re honestly like a family!” Some refer to their fellow church members as a “church family” further pushing the idea that the definition of a family is persons you can go to in any type of hardship and working towards the betterment of each other’s lives whether living together or not. “The Changing American Family” by Natalie Angier states, “Fictive families are springing up among young people, old people, disabled people, homeless people, and may well define one of the ultimate evolutions of the family concept, maximizing, as they do, the opportunities for fulfillment of specific social and economic needs outside the constraints of biological relatedness.” The ever changing social dynamics and circumstances of this life have opened the definition of family to encompass individuals who can fill those deep-seated needs

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