We recently learned of a Canadian holiday called Family Day, celebrated in many provinces on the third Monday in February. We second the notion that recognizing the importance of family is, well, important, and are pleased to pay homage this week to clans large and small, given and chosen, with Family Week on Idealists in Action.
Families are nothing but trouble.
I think this is the conclusion you’d have to come to if you were a visitor from Mars and wanted to cobble together an idea of what “family” means. If you took even the most cursory survey of the United States’ cultural output—from the the Kardashians and Hiltons in tabloids, to the good-but-depressing literature of Shirley Jackson and Jonathan Franzen, to TV talk show hosts from Donahue to Ricki Lake—it would be hard not to arrive at the notion that families are the root of all our problems, cause us nothing but consternation, and are often best escaped from.
With this static always in the air, I think I felt a bit like a visitor from Mars a few months ago, when I stumbled on a blog written by a guy who actually seems to enjoy his family life—and enough to write about it! With sincerity and humor! I pinched myself.
I subsequently got lost in The Art of Manliness’s “Relationships & Family” section for a while, fascinated by posts like:
- Fathering With Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture
- The Importance of Roughhousing With Your Kids, and
- A Man’s Guide to Moving Back in with His Parents…While Maintaining at Least a Little Dignity
Seeing a guy so psyched about his family that he feels compelled to spend a lot of his time writing a good-quality blog about it gives me palpably more hope for our collective future.
When was the last time you read something as sweet as this?
The author elaborates a little more on her family’s simple but affectionate breakfast rituals, but the sentiment is well summed up in these three lines left by a commenter: “When I was a kid my dad left work at 5:00 am. My mom was up with him and made him a hot breakfast, just like she did us before school. It was such obvious sacrificial love.”
Are you trying to make me cry??
I’ll just share one more, which is a triumph of a bit different sort.
Jen Bauer blogs about life with her partner Kendra and their three children on Adventurous Moms. While it’s not all fun and games (there are definitely posts about life under DOMA, conception difficulties, and the legally-necessary act of adopting her own daughter), Jen’s chronicles are largely expressions of biophiliac enthusiasm about life with her family.
Take this recent snippet from the Outdoor Adventures tab:
Here in New York City, we’ve been decrying this winter’s dumps of frozen detritus—but Jen and company are turning snowflakes into lemonade and choosing to tromp around all joyfully in it together. I, for one, could take a lesson.
Well, there you go. Three top-notch blogs to make even the most jaded and curmudgeonly among us remember that there can be a lot more to family than arguments, grudges, and annoying holiday travel.
There can also be radiant, irrepressible, joyous love.
Tell us why your family’s not a bummer!