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"real" Family Values

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"Real" Family Values

What are some things that you could never live without? You might say food, water, shelter, or clothing. Other, less conventional, answers might include a cell phone, lip gloss, or Starbuck's coffee. However, according to psychologist Abraham H. Maslow, all people need belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. Carol Shields sustained that family values include qualities such as nurturing caring, and emotional support in her essay entitled Family Is One of the Few Certainties We Will Take with Us Far into the Future. I agree with Shields that these family values are important because they provide sources of belongingness, esteem and self-actualization that are basic needs for life.

When I discuss family values, I do not mean traditional "family values." Family values involve a diverse family structure that helps its members to receive all the needs of life, ranging from biological to emotional to psychological needs, as outlined by Abraham H. Maslow in 1954. This diverse structure does not have to include a mom, a dad, and children. Family values are demonstrated by any group of people that encompasses the above ideals.

Belongingness involves the company of others. It is a feeling that your existence matters to others. Belonging is a feeling that other people car. Shields, in her essay, brings up the story of St. Jerome, am man who needed no one other than God. This man was a rare example of humanity, because most people find comfort in the sense of belonging to others. The structure of a family, no matter how diverse, gives individuals belongingness. Examples of belonging are the comfort that children have for their caretakers and comfort that adults feel with their relationship with a partner or spouse.

In addition to belong, family values help individuals to feel recognition. This recognition helps to build a person's esteem. Self-esteem involves the positive or negative image that a person holds about himself or herself and his or her accomplishments. A family will support its members and even, if difficult, will help its members to be successful. Examples of this value in a family situation are a single mother who encourages her only daughter to go away to college, even thought it is difficult for the single mother to live alone.

Finally, one of the most important values that can be fulfilled by family is for its individuals to have self-actualization, or to have a feeling that they can "be all that they can be." This is a need that most often parents provide for their children, but it is not bound by age or experience. Having a family that endorses family values means that each individual has a support structure to use when he or she needs it. This helps the person



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