Family ties


The family is one of the oldest and most important social institutions on earth. Anthropologist Margaret Mead, based on her research, affirmed the centrality of the nuclear family in human society.  She said: “As far back as our knowledge takes us, human beings have lived in families. We know of no period when this was not so. We know of no people who have succeeded for long in dissolving the family or displacing it… Again and again, in spite of proposals for change and actual experiments, human societies have reaffirmed their dependence on the family as the basic unit of human living—the family of father, mother and children.’’

All over the world, the family is considered the bedrock of a nation, and the Philippines is no exception. Indeed, the Philippines is one country where family ties are the strongest. It is thus fitting that the nation should take some time to reflect on the family and seek to strengthen family unity and relationships by promoting Filipino family values this week, national Family Week.

Michelle Ong, in a paper in 2000, said that the typical Filipino family is “economically disadvantaged’’ (a euphemism for poor), with parents having jobs that cannot provide for all the needs of the family. She also said that the Filipino family is child-centered, with a married couple becoming a family only with the birth of a child. The family is also perceived to be an important aspect of the Filipino’s life as happiness is closely associated with a satisfying and harmonious family situation.

All over the world, the family is being subjected to various stresses and strains, and again, the Philippines is no exception. An East-West paper said that increasing urbanization and industrialization and the high level of poverty have drastically changed Philippine society, and we presume, also the nuclear family. Many children, because of the OFW phenomenon, are growing up under the care of single or surrogate parents.

It is the family that prepares a child for life in the adult world. Here, the child first experiences the love, care and attention that help launch him into a bigger, more complex environment. The parents are the primary influence in molding children’s values, norms, attitudes and standards of right or wrong. Children who spend most of their growing years in an intact family structure generally receive more and better guidance and attention that protect them from engaging in socially unwanted and negative behaviors such as smoking, drug use, drinking or engaging in commercial or premarital sex.

In 2001, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines lamented in a pastoral statement that many social situations are beginning to destroy or deform the family. The CBCP called poverty “the silent killer of families,’’ forcing many spouses to separate for one or both of them to work abroad. Separation causes children to suffer great psychological harm and sometimes leads to the breakup of families.

The OFW phenomenon has its good and bad effects. Among the good: the children of migrants are better off financially and generally get a better education. But the negative: The migrants’ children are described as lonely, materialistic, consumerist, selfish, anxious and resentful. Many of them feel abandoned. Yes, now the OFW parents are able to maintain constant contact with their children through cell phones, e-mail, Skype, videocams and other state-of-the art gadgets, but they cannot take the place and provide the warmth and love of face-to-face interaction between parent and child.

Many economic and social factors are threatening the unity of marriage and the existence of many families. It is thus necessary that the government solve as soon as possible the perennial problems of poverty and lack of gainful employment, so that more and more parents would stay in the Philippines and continue to care for their children.

As the family suffers the strains and stresses of the modern world, the words of anthropologist Paul Bohannan may be reassuring to all of us: “The family is the most adaptable of all human institutions, changing with every social demand. The family does not break in a storm as oak or pine trees do, but bends before the wind like the bamboo tree in Oriental tales and springs up again.’’

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  • Anonymous

    Aw, puhleeez, the first two paragraphsa re waste of ink. Quoting who’s who is another waste of ink.  

  • Anonymous

    The Editorial concludes, “It is thus necessary that the government solve as soon as possible the perennial problems of poverty and lack of gainful employment, so that more and more parents would stay in the Philippines and continue to care for their children.”

    This is not possible. First, poverty and lack of gainful emploment are just symptoms of underdevelopment. Second. underdevelopment can only be solved by improved S&T. Third, our S&T dept and S&T academy (DOST and NAST) have been, and still are, run by nonscientists and poor rate scientists.

    “Development goals that do not recognize the importance of science and technology in economic transformation are likely to fail, especially those aimed at reducing poverty and raising income levels” (Harvard Report: Meeting the needs of developing countries, 2001).

    For more serious discussion on this issue, Google or see “Only science can solve poverty” (Inquirer, 21 June 2007)

  • Anonymous

    That stresses and strains was already afflicting the family since time immemorial.  As to the good book (bible), Adams family was the “first” dysfunctional family where also “murder” occurs.  The point is, heaven’s intention to establish an ideal world through an ideal society was not realized due to the failure of men to fulfill his portion of responsibility by absolutely obedient to the commandment “not to eat”.  So what was fulfilled was the “dark” intention of the servant (the fallen angel) which is always trying to make all families dysfunctional.  So for heaven, in order to avert the situation, tries to restore man through religion.  Religion means to reconnect, so heaven tries to re-connect the ties that was real before the “fall” of the first human ancestors. In conclusion, these stresses and strains that families is afflicted today is actually the same thing as in the beginning.  So the only solution is to find the “model family” that is the family intended by heaven in the beginning as stated in Genesis 1:28 of the good book.  Please google the “Divine Principle” for more details.

  • Sokor Park

    The best way to strengthen Filipino families is to prevent unprepared couples from becoming a family prematurely.  Empower and strengthen Filipino women through education and through freedom of choice.  Women with higher education are more likely to avoid premature marriage or defer unplanned pregnancy.  Women with more freedom of choice will be freed from being tied down by unplanned pregnancy.  And finally, empowered women will less likely choose men who will end up sending their women to work abroad while their husbands stay home, enjoy the windfall of remittances and have multiple affairs to keep warm like all mammals do.

    • Anonymous

      yes to rh he he

  • InSearchOfTruth

    “The CBCP called poverty “the silent killer of families,’’ forcing many
    spouses to separate for one or both of them to work abroad. Separation
    causes children to suffer great psychological harm and sometimes leads
    to the breakup of families.”

    But isn’t this one of the main argument of the CBCP?  That sending Filipinos abroad as OFWs is an advantage to the Philippine economy?

  • Anonymous

    it is from the family where one gets unconditional love this is  especially so  from the mothers.

  • Anonymous

    Hindi po ba natin napapansin?

    It is insurgency that is bringing poor people here from the provinces.

    It is insurgency that is the cause why so many of us have work as katulongs in foreign lands.

    The communist representatives are fighting it in the congress so deceptively.

    They will support RH Bill, they will support anything that will cut the Defense budget.

  • Anonymous

    The talks between the government and MILF was advised by Marvic Leonen (I hope he is not a Communist). Peace with the moros is more than impossible unless they lay down their arms. They are like the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka.Cessation of hostilities for the muslim and communist insurgents means they are rearming, supplyin all resources needed for war.The government will again spend hundreds of million of pesos to fight a major war. This will drain our national budget which is the Communist ulterior intention. That the Defense budget will be cut slowly until your armed forces and police will no longer be capable to fight the insurgents.They are doing it in Congress, one of it is RH Bill. The Bill if passed will share a huge amount of budget that will clearly threatened the security of this nation.Threatened this nation, because guns and ammunition for the military will be scarce while they get millions from investors monthly in the forms of revolutionary taxes or “tongs”.Mas malakas kayo manghingi ng TONG

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