The dictionary definition of family is: all the descendants of a common ancestor. Although this statement is true, some would disagree and say that the meaning to the word “family” goes far beyond that simple definition. Many people consider friends, schoolmates, animals, friends of a parent, and co-workers to be their family as well. Your whole family can be made up of many people that are not necessarily your real family. The relationship you share with another individual classifies them as a family member. These people may not be your relative at all, but someone you feel a strong connection to for one reason or another.
Just because someone is your family member by blood, does not mean you have to have a close relationship with him or her. Your family can be extended from your nuclear family because another person may be very special to you, or makes you feel loved enough that you would consider them a part of your family. Children that lose their mother and father might have someone take care of them that are not blood related. In a situation like this, the child’s real family is not apart of the family that raises them and takes care of them. Family is more of a concept and more about the relationship that the two people share.
In a case where parents have died or some other circumstance has arisen where they cannot provide for their child, strangers or friends may assist in raising that child. That would make them the caregivers; they would be the mother and father because they fill that role in the child’s life. Many people may say they have two mothers, this is because they have two people that fill the motherly role in their life and both of those people make them feel loved and appreciated. Another example where your family might not be your real relatives is godmothers or your godfathers.
Your godmother or godfather can be anyone that your parents think can and will fill that role best. This may be your blood related uncle or the best man in your parents wedding. Regardless of the blood relation this person is in now classified as your family member. Family can also expand to include more than just humans as well. Most Americans have a pet dog or a pet cat that is considered a part of their family. It is very common in a household environment that animals are added to the mix. Whether it is a family of four wanting to add extra love in their lives, or a lonely college student looking for a companion.
Many people add a pet into their homes to love and feel love in return. One might think this classifies that animal as a family member. Animals and humans can share a very special relationship, just like family members share. This special relationship is what makes someone or something a part of your family not just blood. Some people may have very special experiences with another individual. Growing up with a particular friend and experiencing many of life’s challenges and tribulations can make a relationship grow very strong.
People that have been there for another person through tragedies, deaths, illness, hardships and times of celebration share special bonds. These people may refer to each other as brothers or sisters or second daughters or sons. It is the many experiences and the compassion and empathy that people share with one another that make them feel that closeness with one another. They will often refer to these special people as “family members”, although they have no blood relation. Many people that are not your real relatives can be more like your family than your real family. There are many reasons that families break up, or do not speak any longer.
Death, distance, past arguments and sickness can all be some reasons why you are not close to your blood family. Most people know of someone who may no longer speak to their mother, father, sister, or brother; this kind of thing happens all the time. This is very common after a parent’s death, and the children have to disperse the parent’s valuables. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends. Sometimes those friends treat you better than your own family. They’re a surplus of people that might fill a particular role better than others, and the relationship you share with them is what defines them as your family member.