Today Julie's Hump Day Hmmm... is all about values.
Values are a hard thing to write about, I'm finding. Values are largely objective. Sure, when I was in England a bank would happily tell me the subjective value of the US dollar, which let me tell you is not very much. But the values that a person holds? Very objective. I know that even among friends and family who largely value the same things I do, the way we RANK those values is very different. My husband and I, for example, will rank differently the values of time alone, a clean house, saving money and clean laundry. It doesn't mean we don't value them, but we value them differently.
The thing that stuck out to me about values, though, is the Family Values platform that is bandied about so much in politics today. Family Values is extolled as if it is of the highest value to everyone, and that we all agree on what it is. Or, at the very least, we SHOULD all agree on what it is, and its ranking of value.
The problem, however, and why I often cringe when I hear the phrase, is not that I don't value family. I do. It's how I feel they want to define the family that is valued.
Family Values extols the virtue of a family consisting of a mother, a father, and their children. I think this family has a lot of value, seeing as how I am a mother living with her husband and her child. I also grew up in this kind of family, and found that experience to be very valuable to me.
Family Values seems to begrudgingly accept step families and single parents - as a sort of lesser type of family, but one that sometimes circumstances call for.
But what about the gay couple? Or, even more unheard of, the gay couple that has adopted children? What about the single person who chooses to have or adopt a child? What about the orphan? What about the single person? The two adult siblings who live together? Two friends who live together?
I think a family is any group of people who are committed to living communally, who care for each other, who base their relationship upon love and respect and wanting what is best for everyone involved. I value family very highly in my life, but still I cringe when I hear "Family Value" because I feel that it is used not to support a wide variety of families, but rather to define who is allowed to be called a family.
Check out the other Hump Day Hmmmm... posts about values by clicking on the link to Julie's post, above.