Family and Religion : Influence on People

Topics: Sociology, Family, Nuclear family Pages: 5 (1597 words) Published: February 1, 2009
Family and Religion: Influence on People
If you asked people to describe their families, some would describe single-household families, some would describe stepfamilies, some would describe gay or lesbian or adoptive families and many would describe divorced families. The word family has become a diverse institution it is very difficult to give it a meaning. In a wide sense especially in the biological sciences the term family refers to a group of individual beings linked by blood relations, having a whole line of ancestors and descendants. Aristotle defines the family as a community designed to attend to the basic and permanent needs of the household such as clothing food and shelter. In the past decades the traditional family consisted of the father as the breadwinner and the mother staying at home and raising the children. Now, very few families follow that norm and number of family who general do is fewer than generally imagined. Regardless of the ideal, many families now face the challenges of living with one income or trying to fix family affairs when both parents work.

But with time comes changes, which are taking positive turns in the family. Fathers are now discovering the positive side of taking home and taking care of the children. Women now have more options other than staying home and have greater independences. However, change has also brought difficulties to the family: trying to balance the imposition of family and employment and confronting with personal conflicts of changing expectations and trying to make ends meet with enough financial resources for the family. As a social institution, the family crossed with other social institution such as Religion. Religious values and norms are first learned through families and in the present Religion influences on how the family should be organized. Numerous amounts of family events are venerated by religious ceremonies. Religious beliefs have led to numerous conflicts, but these beliefs has been the foundation of many liberating social movements such as the civil rights movement and other human rights movements. Many positive and negative events are created by religious conflicts. The family and religion are for most people the first institutions encountered in life.

Institutions do not invent themselves everyday, people adapt in variety of ways to make the institution constantly evolve. They shape and direct our actions and make it seems as if the only options available to us are the ones set by the society. Like many institutions, families shape the way an individual views the world. Children and the elderly are powerless compared to the adults within the family. Heterosexual families have more resources compared to gay and lesbian families; gay and lesbian have to create new practices that are not supported by society. As social scientists have become more alert about the diversity the meaning of family has been refined. Now “family broadly refer to a primary group of people- usually related by ancestry, marriage, or adoption-who form a cooperative economic unit to care for any offspring and who are committed to maintaining the group over time.”( Andersen, 318)

There are two types of families, extended and nuclear families. Extended families or joint families consist of parents, children and other relative who create a single unit. They usually live under one roof, share responsibilities and economic resources. In an extended family, there are people who are not related by blood but share a intimate relationship with the family. For example, the compadre relationship between parents and godparents in Hispanic families is a form of extended kinship system. In this relationship the godparents share the parenting role of child with the natural parents . This type of kinship is deeply rooted in the family system. Nuclear family is the traditional family that most people are familiar with. The nuclear family consists of father, mother, and their...
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