The family is the major basis of every community. Each family has specific roles towards one
another and their society. Definitions of a family are as diverse as families could be. Some convey social judgments by representing the “normal/acceptable” family and some challenge societal beliefs by presenting the variety of families. However, most agree with Shirley Zimmerman’s that a family is responsible of adding new members, providing physical care for members, teaching social skills for children, controlling behaviour of members, maintaining morale and participating in society, and lastly producing and consuming goods and services. Although every family should achieve all roles, how a family performs is dependant on who they are and where they come from.
Zimmerman’s Functions of the family
Coming from a Syrian family does not specifically mean coming from a big family, but for the
most part it means having a unified family. Everyone is involved where we love to spend time together and we appreciate and respect one another. On 1996 my parents got married and on 2001 I was born. Having the two of my parents come from a family where they had just one sibling they both wanted to have more than two kids. Hence, they got three children my two brothers and I. My family is a double income family as both of my parents work to provide goods and services for us. As my father also gets health insurance which helps more and more supporting the family. Regardless having my parents work most of the time it barely influences their attitude towards parenting. As both of them are always available for moral and physical support and when they are not I can always go back to my older brother for advice and guidance and I am also there to help my younger brother as well. In addition, my parents work hard to grow our hobbies and build our social skills and values. Where my mother supports my love to music and art by teaching me piano and sending me to painting classes aside from school where I can practice what I like the most. On the other hand, my father plays football and basketball with my siblings and takes them to chess and robotics classes. From a very young age my parents insured that we have fun while learning and maintaining good values and morals by being great role models and teaching us that every bad act has consequences and punishments. They engraved love, kindness, forgiveness, honesty, and patience in us by educating us about our religion. Moreover, my parents always pushed us to be our best selves by support and encouragement to present our personalities to society in the best way possible. I have always seen my parents incredibly attached to their mothers and brothers which lead to a genuine strong bond between my siblings and I and my grandmothers and uncles. Celebrating big events or even small celebrations with my big family is a most. Having them there to share our laughter and tears makes life much more easier and nicer. I can talk with my uncles about my interests and have their opinion and help with important decisions like applying to universities, getting a driving license, or even cutting my hair. While my grandmother Laila teaches me crochet and cooking.
Changes by Generation
Over the last couple of years families have changed dramatically in the way they behave, function and
socialise. Nowadays more women work apart from being housewives and different race, religion, culture and same sex marriages are more socially acceptable. A lot of these changes branched off of media, and the environment that families were place in. Long time ago families lived together, everybody knew everyone. Social skills and interaction were huge and families respected and showed affection to each other. People appreciated family time and activities and even kids were involved. Family members used to rely on each other to make their life easier. Extended families played a huge role in helping where if a parent had to work or go out you could leave your kids at their house. However, nowadays no one has time for another one, each individual is busy in their own world. Where families started living away from each other making connections harder and forcing us to be more dependent on social media. As a result, currently women and men want to take their time to establish themselves and build a strong financial base before having kids and making a family since children cost a lot of money with the increase of needs and expenses. Hence, more families are having less to none kids at an older age compared to the previous generation causing a decrease in the percent of youth and an increase in the number of elders.
The Process of Completing the Family Tree
The process of building the family tree was both fun and tough, but for the most part it was rough. I had
some major difficulties collecting dates especially when it came to the death dates of my grandfathers and my grandparents marriage dates. Since the death happened long time ago and the marriage even more back then it was hard for my family to give me exact dates. I had to ask my uncle to go back to our old house in Syria to look through archived images hoping to find the right dates. Also, the time zone difference made it even harder to contact my extended family. On the other hand, when it came to actually putting the family tree together I had problems with making the information fit while still making if clear and aesthetically pleasing.
What I learned
While making the family tree I came across the dates of both of my parents fathers death days. For most of my life they were nothing more than just names, but after making the tree and seeing their pictures for the first time I got an instant feel of comfort and connection. I have known that they both passed away, but never looked more into it. I learned that my father’s father died when my father was only 13 years old which made him to step up and take on huge responsibilities to maintain his family. My father opened up and told that he loves and tries to spend as much time as he can with us because he misses his father’s presence and does not want to regret not being around us when he has the chance. I have also learned that my grandfather Burhan is 15 years older than my grandmother lail which shows how in the olden times having a big age difference between a couple was fine. Lastly, I felt the extreme love of a family when I saw that my father named my older brother after his father to honor his soul.