A family is the basic unit of what makes a society. The functionality and stability of families however determines the extent of development of any society. Individuals make up families and properly trained individuals are key to driving inclusive societies.
Functional families are key to achieving inclusive societies.
Let me break this down a little more.
We all look forward to a society where everyone is valued irrespective of their differences in gender, class, religious beliefs, ideologies and castes. In 2009, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs defined social inclusion as “a process by which efforts are made to ensure equal opportunities for all, regardless of their background so that they can achieve their full potential in life. It is a multi-dimensional process aimed at creating conditions which enable full and active participation of every member of the society in all aspects of life, including civic, social, economic, and political activities, as well as participation in decision-making processes”.
I am sure you got that. Let us move over to what a functional family looks like.
First of all, I would love to explain what a family unit is. When I was younger, we were taught that a family is a group of people related by blood. Growing up, I understood that a man and his wife are not related by blood and they are the ones who “produce” members of a family. In my own head, I redefined what a family is and it goes – A family is a group of people related by blood or by marriage. I don’t share the same blood with my husband and we are family.
Moving forward, a functional family is one that has its foundation laid in the teaching of correct principles, love concern, time, guidance and help. It is one with which there is a feeling of safety and security. The importance of the family unit has also been highlighted by the former UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, “by providing economic and emotional sustenance to their members, families can raise productive, caring citizens committed to the common good.” He went further to say that “well-functioning families, whatever form they may take, can help reduce poverty, improve the well being of mothers, promote gender equality and uphold human rights.” It is clear that to achieve any of the Sustainable Development Goals, the stability of the family unit as an entity has to be upheld.
The instability and lack of functionality within families have produced inefficient employees, suicidal students, rebellious wives, wicked husbands, disobedient children, bad & corrupt leaders, terrorists, armed robbers and any other societal ill one can think of. What makes the situation worse is that it is a vicious cycle. These societal ills further cause disintegration and instability in families. To break the cycle, the millennial generation of parents need to retrace their steps in upholding the values of functional families so that we don’t end up with bitter children. We need to let our children understand that we can start building inclusive societies, one family at a time.
I have officially been a parent for four years and I can tell you that if we all teach our children the right things, the future of sustainable development is very bright. It is as simple as teaching them the importance of saying “thank you” “I’m sorry” “please” and other simple courtesies by your own conduct.
The generation of our parents are leaving us gradually, we and our kids are the future and we can build it into what we want, one family at a time.