I remember having a carefree and joyful childhood among several uncles, aunts, grand parents and parents. I remember the playful times that lasted for days at a stretch with my cousins. There was always one of the several older cousins ready to help me with my studies and the homework. Dinner time was a noisy and delightful occasion where a big group of us would enjoy anything being served. Bed time meant wonderful stories told by grandfather or grandmother ! Having been born in an extended family in Vietnam, I had a very pleasant childhood.
But of course there were some not so good times too… for instance when a big box of chocolates still meant only one each . Our parents would not buy anything and everything that we asked for, as it meant that the other children would be dissatisfied. A new set of clothes , however strongly desired, would be purchased only for a special occasion or a festival. Getting a toy meant having to share it too! From such an extended family, we had to move out of the country as my father’s job required it to be so.
We had to literally break away from the family bonds and set up a nuclear ( broken part of the ) family in a far away country. Initially we found ourselves lost. We had no elders to whom we could turn to for our guidance. The wisdom and experience of the family elders which was so easily and freely available earlier was not to be found. Parents were busy trying to make decisions and make us more comfortable. Every small issue seemed to a big hurdle to tide over.
... brought up. Some people had both parents, some lived in a single parent families, and there were unfortunate peoples. ... go in my country. To my parents, recognizing someone as your family member was something really everyone cannot ... Born and raised in West Africa in a big family of seven children, I realized as I grown ... person wish to have. There was a time in my family when my Dad lost his job and ...
Slowly we got used to this life style and started enjoying its advantages. A requests to parents for a new toy or a box of chocolates or a new dress would be met almost immediately. Sharing of chocolates and goodies was on a much lower key ! We started gloating in the undue attention of our parents. But as we grew up we found that the bonding in the extended family was not there and we had to constantly make an effort to keep the family together. We became less adjusting and more independent.
Tolerance was conspicuous by its absence! Both my parents and we the children, were becoming less patient and living in a big group slowly started becoming very difficult. Our individualistic thinking gave us some predominance in the society and our personal achievements remained so . We had freedom from the traditions which were strictly followed in the joint family. But it also meant that festivities were listless days with lots of good food and clothes and nothing to celebrate. The gaiety was missing on such occasions.
We got our individual identities … but lost a part of ourselves back home. So as a person who has seen both sides of the grass, I strongly am inclined to the advantages of a joint family. It nurtures a person into a wholesome and one who is capable of caring and sharing. The love and respect shown towards all the other members of the family seemed to be too vague to imagine. The nuclear family was a bonding only between the parents and their children. Despite some distinct disadvantages the extended family would be my choice any day and in any place.