Family and Ideology

I understand when parents are proud of their children.  I understand that having children feels like a blessing (and at times, I know, a curse?).  But where I am not living, I am witnessing something very strange, something intangible, something in the air.  I understand that parents are proud of their children.  But what does it mean when parents are proud that they have children?  Proud to be a family unit.  Proud of family as an ideology.

I had heard about “family values,” as a catch-phrase associated with right-wing politics.  I am now seeing what that means.  It is a pride that they have a family, that they are part of the “family values” ideology.

In Biblical times, having children took away the “reproach” of  barrenness for women.  Men wanted children to help with work and to inherit their wealth.  There was also an element of ancestor worship.  God tells Moses that He is “the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and Jacob.”  Children had pride and reverence for their parents, grandparents, ancestors.

But that is not contemporary pride in having a family.  I love my parents, and my brothers and sisters.  But I’ve never thought that I was proud to be a family unit.  Family values strange as an ideology.  It’s almost a destruction of the innocence of children, when children are viewed as part of a political ideal.  It’s almost a corruption of bonds of love, when love becomes pride.

I am now witnessing something very strange in this family values, something intangible, something unsettling.

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