Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tribal Ties

People are always saying that "family is everything," and I'm not just talking about the paid copywriters at Hallmark Cards. Philosophers, authors and even your average Joe have all proclaimed that "family" is what it's all about. Here are a handful of examples:

“Without a family, man, alone in the world, trembles with the cold.” 
-Andre Maurois

“Family is the most important thing in the world.” -Princess Diana

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” -Confucius

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family." -Mother Teresa

"You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them." 
- Desmond Tutu

"Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten."-David Ogden Stiers

"When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching--they are your family.”-Jim Butcher 

"I sustain myself with love of family." -Maya Angelou

"The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family." - Lee Iacocca

Blah, blah, blah--you get the point. But for some reason, these days it is simply not cool to live with one's family after a certain age. In fact, it's seen as a real shortcoming, a sign of failure if not clear-cut mental illness. In today's Wall Street Journal, an article bemoaning the lack of millennials jumping into the housing market begins this way: "More adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are living with mommy and daddy than ever before." It could have been written this way: "More young people between the ages of 18 and 34 are living with their parents than ever before." Instead the decision was made to denigrate those who either cannot afford to live on their own or choose not to by inferring they are immature babies.

My own millennial son is 28 and has been living on his own for quite some time. He's out in the world, working to pay his rent and maintain the right to be master of his domain. Good for him. Still, there was a time when several generations lived under one roof and were praised for it rather than demeaned. Young people today have enough insecurities to deal with already; they certainly don't need smug newspaper editors making them feel even worse.

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