05 November 2007

Happy Families

Modern happy families [Source: Daily Mail]Is the trend towards ever increasing family breakdown about to reverse? Are we on the edge of a cultural shift in which the family once again becomes central to our lives and society at large?

Earlier this year a UNICEF report revealed that, among the world's wealthiest nations, British children have the worst relationships with family and friends. Yet a new BBC poll claims that three-quarters of people in Britain (76%) are optimistic about the future for their families, a figure 24% higher than when the same question was asked in 1964.

To a certain extent, the apparent discrepancy is probably explained by our expectations of family life being much lower than they used to be. However, when we consider the recent fascination with exploring family trees, is it possible that our present optimism reflects the increasing importance we place upon the family?

That said, there is obviously still a long way to go before any change in perception is born out by reality — 17% no longer speak to one or more members of their family, this proportion being significantly influenced by marital status (23% for singles compared with 13% for married or cohabiting adults), social class (24% for DEs compared with 9% for ABs), and home ownership (34% for those who rent from their local council compared with 11% for those who own their own house).Modern happy families [Source: Daily Mail]

Click on the above graphics for more modern "happy families" from the Daily Mail.


John Lewis said...

It would be wonderful if the role of the family was on the up. However, the decline of the family is only the manifestation of the underlying problem we have. It is rooted (amongst other things) in our current climate of increasing individualisation and materialism, which leads people to prioritise themselves above those closest to them, and to put material gain and gratification above more important, less tangible goals.

It's a picture we've seen before, in the story of Jacob and Esau. Esau wanted the food he saw before him: instant gratification. Jacob had his eyes on the promise to come, and that is what faith is. Jacob reaped a great reward, while Esau's descendents reaped the reward of his failure.

Unless the problems underlying the breakdown of the family are addressed by society as a whole, I believe that the decay can only continue, whatever opinion polls may say to the contrary. The solution is one we know, and one we must present.