Family, Marriage, and Gender Roles At the core of American identities and American dreams lies a family. Throughout time, families serve as a connection between the individual and the outside world. The individual's identity, his or her dreams, in large part depend on the family of origin or a family of choice. The individual is shaped through beliefs, values, and assumptions that the family holds about the world and that are based on family member's experiences and collective memory. The family itself, in turn derives its values from the social, cultural, political, and philosophical assumptions and beliefs of the larger, and more dominant culture. In today's modern society, assumptions regarding a family can be very widespread. Ranging from the conservative viewpoint to the more liberal view. The conservative is the more traditional view of the two. Believing that the only true family is the joint relationship of a husband, wife, and children is a thing of the past. Recently an alarming number of unfavorable situations have arisen. These situations range from one-parent families to the inexplicable situation of two partners of the same sex. What happens to a society where the nuclear family is no longer the dominant configuration? Only time will tell. Being brought up in a traditional environment, I have very conservative views on the concept of a family. When I was young, my Mother did not work. She would stay at home with me until I was about thirteen years old. I feel that, if possible, a mother should stay home with her children. In my eyes, the main responsibility of a Mother is to furnish her children with as much attention as possible. Without the necessary attention the child will grow up striving for attention, and will do everything in his or her power to receive it. In the model nuclear family, the Father is the individual who is responsible for earning a substantial living. Providing for the family: a home, food, and a sense of security; the Father is an important factor in the up bringing of a family. Unfortunately, many families do not have the luxury of a nuclear family. They must survive on their perseverance, along with a little bit of luck along the way. In our textbook, Moser and Waters accurately depict the essentials of family values. The one essay that seems to support my own set of values is the one entitled Reserve Marriage for Heterosexuals. I feel that a family has nothing to gain by allowing homosexuals to adopt children and start their own families. The essay depicts that children that are raised without a Mother and a Father seem to develop in a skewed, scarred, or retarded way. I agree with this point of the essay because there is no way a child can cope with the fact that he or she has no Mother or Father. The book also cites that adoption agencies are now discouraging single parents to adopt children, leaning more and more towards the traditional, nuclear family. Our textbook represents a wide variety of different assumptions on the qualities of a family. The assumption that I do not find to be
legitimate is depicted in the essay Marriage is a Fundamental Right. The essay declares that the marriage of two homosexual partners should be legalized. I believe that this would threaten the social identity of our culture, and presumably bring on more troubles than benefits. The only reasonable explanation for this reaction, is the fact that I came from a very traditional background. I have never had to experience the fact of knowing I can not do something because of "tradition." I hope in the coming years I will change my views on certain issues when I learn to understand them better. With my Father growing up in a small town in West Virginia, his family used the current day template of raising a family. Finding someone who you could marry, having ten children, and living the rest of your life with them. They did not know of any homosexuals wanting to marry, all they knew was the fact that they needed each other to survive. In today's modern society, I am forced to listen to the homosexuals complaint because they have the same right to the laws of marriage as two heterosexuals partners.