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Family Bonds Short Essay

Even for those among us without a green thumb, watching one particular kind of sapling grow into a tree is probably one of the most satisfactory experiences of our lives. That is our family, the most wonderful plant that grows indoors. We are a culture which has always been proud of our family system. We believe that a house is a home, no matter its appearance, when it has people who stick together at all times. We don't need once-a-year greeting cards or forced family reunions to keep us together. Our roots are strong. Remember Ravi's retort to Vijay in the Bollywood blockbuster Deewar? "Mere paas Maa hain!"

A loving family starts with a loving marriage that remains strong, where both partners stay together because that is how they want it to be, when they accept each other as they accept themselves. It is this feeling which is passed on to children. In families that also has grandparents, often, it is the love between the grandparents and grandchildren which makes the family bond even stronger. Children rebel against their parents who, in turn, might complain of a generation gap, and often the grandparents are the best friends that the children have.

Healing power

The power of family cannot be underestimated. For millions of years, people have lived in families and the oldest healing form in tribal medicine often made the healer bring the tribe together to ask what was going on in the clan to make one of its branches, a family, sick. Each of the members of the clan, then, had to come forth and confess any negative feelings they had towards the sick person or each other. They also had to forgive each other before the healer started his work.

One could also compare family to the human body. You need to see that every bit of it is healthy for an overall healthy life. Minor upsets are sometimes signs of bigger breakdowns to come and it's best to tackle any attack on your health right at its roots.

Open and honest communication between all is the key factor. Often, especially in the metros, families don't have time for each other and communication is mostly through the mother. Members spread themselves too thin and when this happens for long, gradually the concept of being together doesn't hold its earlier importance. Communication breakdowns then are quick to follow.

Unexpressed emotions, especially anger or resentment, can destroy togetherness. Your fears, doubts, anxieties, need to be brought out in the open and taken care of before they become a wedge between you and your family.

Like unexpressed anger, unexpressed love or appreciation is equally deadly. Members take each other for granted and lack of appreciation for each other leads to resentment. The assigned task becomes a chore instead of one's share of responsibility in the family. In the words of Dr Alice Honig of Syracuse University's College of Human Development, "Family members can either tear each other down or build each other up. In a harmonious family every person figures out ways of making the others happy, whether it is through small gestures or simple words of appreciation."

Psychologists call it "Strength bombardment" where each person takes turns at understanding his or her good qualities and then listens to more praise from the others. That is how the right behavioural pattern solidifies.

Doing things together is one of the ways to contribute to your family's success and your home's health. Even simple things like working together on renovating your home, helping out in the kitchen or entertaining family friends with each other's help is enough to bring you closer. You are a team and whatever is accomplished is that of the entire team. If there are goofups, they can be discussed later to avoid repetition. It becomes your training ground for working together with strangers later at a workplace. You acquire a sense of responsibility, learn to focus on the task designated to you and take pride in doing it well.

A strong unit

For a family to have a sense of inbuilt discipline, there needs to be an organised set-up of relationships as also a clear chain of command. It doesn't mean autocracy but a figure who becomes a central clearing house of issues. Here rules are spelled out clearly and each member's role is specified. Children are not lumped together, not only because of their different ages but also because of their different personalities. Adults, while remaining centres of authority, are willing to apologise when they are wrong, but with dignity. That gives a sense of justice to a child who has really been wronged at a given time.

A family that dreams together, stays together. They could be tiny dreams or big ones but all the members push themselves to make it a reality. It gives a sense of fulfilment like nothing else.

Dreams are hopes and it is hopes that keep people going, both in sunny and rainy days. Of course, there needs to be someone to keep an eye on the light at the end of the tunnel, to guide the others when darkness seems overpowering and fatigue begins to set in. It is only then can the journey to the distant light continue, hands held, steps in tandem.

For relationships and ultimately for families to survive, you have to make an effort. Sometimes it's not easy, it takes thinking, problem-solving and ingenuity on the part of all the members, especially in the matters that concern home security. Unless your family is safe there is no peace of mind and without the peace of mind, even the prettiest of houses have no meaning.

Home safe home

Families with children who are still young need to be careful of a lot of things. Since it is not possible for someone to keep an eye on them every minute, it's best to take some general precautions to avoid tragedies. A lot of mishaps take place when the children are playing away from the eyes of the elders even inside the house. It's best to:

  • lock the entry points of the balcony so that it is not used as a play area
  • choose heavy furniture rather than plastic furniture, so that children cannot move it and use it to climb on the railings
  • think through the height of the railing considering the age of the children
  • ensure that the railing is vertical, not horizontal, so children cannot use it like a ladder
  • the balcony surface is non-slippery to avoid possible tripping.

It's impossible to protect your family members from predators all times of the day, whether inside the house or outside. A close-knit family can always have a security plan for the home. Burglaries are one such serious threat to both home and family, especially in the metros. A majority of burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or school and the house is either empty or then has only the elderly members. Burglars look for items that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash, like jewellery, watches, laptop computers, CD players, CDs and other small electronic devices, along with cash. And they use ordinary household tools like screwdrivers, lock pliers, pry bars and small hammers. Security expert Chris McGoey, creator of safety Web site crimedoctor.com, suggests that you "harden the target", meaning make things difficult for the burglars who will then simply skip your home for easier places. This is how:

  • Make sure your dead bolt is a heavy-duty model and bolted to the door frame with three-inch screws.
  • Fit windows with latches and keep them closed when you are away at work.
  • Keep all the entry points to your house well lit.
  • Don't look like an easy target. Attacks are also about power and even the smallest resistance at times can drive away the burglars. I had once met a 76-years-old lady who warded off criminals by keeping her wits about her. All she had for support was a pomeranian puppy. She, of course, credited it all to the James Hadley Chase novels that she read all the time!
  • Neighbours are the best source of support and can keep an eye on the house, especially if there are only elderly people at home throughout the day. Cultivate them. Fortunately, in India, this comes to us automatically.
  • Finally, appear to be home even when you are not. Requesting the neighbours to pick up your newspapers or the milk bags, in case you have to leave town suddenly, will not let strangers know that the house is empty and so an easy target.

Closeness among family members allows each one of them their own space as well as helps them be safe even outside. McGoey suggests that when developing a family security plan you must give careful thought to the public routines of each family member, discuss and explore some "what if" scenarios of real life situations.

Careful planning leads to less stress and a better family unit. Otherwise, as the cactus asked the orchid, "What's the point?!"

Healthy Marriage

According to recent studies a happy marriage improves emotional, psychological and physical health! Married couples have a greater life expectancy than separated/divorced couples or single people.

What's more, the widely-believed myth that marriage bumps up spouses' angst and stress was brought down by a study done by the University of California [UCLA]. About 30 couples with full-time jobs participated in the university's experiment, and the result is clear: a happy marriage diminishes stress.

The hormone that is responsible for stress and body fat is called Cortisol. Cortisol can also be blamed for illnesses like depression, chronic stress and cancer if its blood levels remain high over the years.

According to the study, at the end of a tiring day at work, women with happy marriages had much less cortisol in their blood. Amazingly, cortisol levels in men remained surprisingly low at the time they left their working place to return home, whether their marriage was happy or not.

Team CW

Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Gayatri Pagdi

Gayatri Pagdi is a Mumbai-based health journalist. Her areas of interest include emotional, mental and spiritual health.

The family system is the most conspicuous bond in the social scheme of things. This bond ties people to each other with invisible strings of love and care, each one bonded to all others in his/her entirety. The family that consists of the elder’s brothers, sisters and children are all bound to each other no matter how far away they may be from each other physically.

The family is the inspiration of each individual member and, above all, it is the objective for which each individual member lives and works. The encouragement from the family helps one to achieve marathon goals, and it is the family only that, at time forces a person to adopt the wrong path. Thus the family is of so much importance to every member that, its bonds are in reality responsible for whatever each member achieves or loses. The family is as if the backbone on which the bodies of the individuals in it stand.

It is the family that acts as a booster for each one in it and, it is the same family that at times becomes a stumbling block in the growth of an individual in it. This is because the bonds of love are too great to be set apart and as we often hear that love is blind. It is this same blind love of the family that may at times prove to be a hindrance to growth

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For example, a child in the family may be brilliant in studies but the extreme and blind love of the parents wants to see him as the next Sachin Tendulkar. They, in trying to fulfill their ambition may try to impose their desire on the child and he, in the bargain loses track of studies. At the same time since he has no inclination for cricket, he does not manage to achieve anything in that sphere also.

Thus, due to the unquestioned love and bond of the family, the child loses out on both fronts. He is unable to become Sachin Tendulkar and neither has he been able to keep pace with his studies. In this way, the bonds of the family prove to be disastrous also. At the same time, with the backing and support of the family, a child can work wonders as, it is here he gets all the encouragement and back up support.

Besides being a support for the children of a family it has often been heard that, behind every successful man, there is a woman. This again goes to show how much the backing of a good co-operative wife helps the man also to grow in his career. Thus it is seen that the family bonds play a very prominent part in making or breaking each member of the family. It is from broken homes that, drug addicts, juvenile criminals are also created, so much is the importance of the bonds of a family.

So much for parents and children in a family. Even grandparents have an intrinsic role to play in the growth of the individuals. If the children play and have fun with grandparents, they develop a liking for elders, and they learn to respect elders. Once they see their parents behaving well with the grandparents they also learn how to behave with elders. This presence of elders in a family makes the bonds still more pleasant and more lasting.

Like everything else, bonds of a family also have their advantages and disadvantages. However, the disadvantages are so minuscule that, the prominent advantages overpower them and the essence of family life and its bonds appear to be just worth it. Where there is a family to fall back upon, even hard times of misfortune, it becomes easier to bear and this is just what family bonds is all about. These bonds are so strong that, no power can break them or destroy them. It is however great luck to get the fortune of a fully blooming family with all its bonds in place.

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