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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Will the recession bring back the traditional American Family?

Have you ever wondered what happened to the traditional American family? Sometimes it seems it has all but disappeared. Gone are the days when the nuclear family spent time in the living room, watching T.V. together, maybe discussing the days tasks or current events. How about Sunday dinner spent with extended family? When I was growing up we did it around lunch, right after church, and no one was excused for any reason.

Over the years, not only has the "traditional" family been scoffed at and maligned by liberals, but the lure of easy credit and an uptick toward a consumer society have led people to find comfort and joy in material things rather than their families. Shopping and buying have replaced talking and bonding. Its easy to see in the children and their tantrums for the latest toy or gaming system or the expensive clothing the teens must have. Even the parents, rather than taking time with the spouse or the family everyday they are buying or working so they can buy more......never quite meshing with each other because that can only be done through shared experience.

But maybe we are about to see a new trend, a trend back toward family and the rewarding experiences that can be found there, rather than the false comfort of consumerism. In a recent poll by New York Times/CBS it looks like the family unit may be seeing a resurgence, oddly enough because of the recession.
....a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said
they were spending less time buying non essentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online.

But Americans are not just getting by with less. They are also doing more.

Some are working longer hours, but a larger proportion, the poll shows, are spending additional time with family and friends, gardening, cooking, reading, watching television and engaging in other hobbies.
Wouldn't it be a nice side-effect of the economy bursting for the traditional family to make a come back? Wouldn't it be great if less spending of dollars leads to more spending of time? While it is hard to find anything positive about the current state of the economy, maybe this is a glimmer of hope. As families shift away from going and doing and spending and toward being entertained by each other going and doing and participating together, it could strengthen our bonds to each other once again. As we learn to know the people in our family, we begin to care about them in a deeper way. When you care about something deeply, its worth fighting for. Maybe the recession will remind everyone why things like family, love, respect, and personal responsibility are values and the "things" worth having.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great observation, and I hope that is true, and that the trend continues! Not that I want a poor economy to persist, but it's always a good thing to look on the bright side of a bad situation.