Opinion: What is a family?

September 12, 2020

There was a show on television in the 1950’s called “Father Knows Best,” a sitcom portraying “a typical American family.” Robert Young starred as the father (Jim Anderson), and Jane Wyatt co-starred as the mother (Margaret Anderson). They had three children; two of them were teenagers, and the youngest was a small child. The father, of course, was the key character, and he was very engaged with his family. It was a loving family, and there was lots of interaction and communication among them. Whenever anything happened, it involved the whole family.


I grew up in a family almost identical to the “Father Knows Best” family. We were a family of five, and the children were two girls and a boy, just like the family of Jim Anderson. I was the middle child, which I believe is the most special place in the birth order of children. Unlike many who believe the middle child is ignored, I believe it is a very fortunate spot to have. If you are a middle child, the spotlight is rarely on you, and that gives you lots of leeway. However, I never felt unloved. Instead, I felt very blessed to be born into a loving family, just like the “Father Knows Best” family. 


We all know that in 2020, the “typical American family” does not look like it did in the “Father Knows Best” sitcom. It’s quite possible that Jim Anderson’s family was never really typical. It just looked normal to me because it seemed so much like my own family. I’d like to think that most kids grew up in families with two parents. It’s sad to think about a child without both loving parents in their lives. Today we have many families that do not have two parents.


I believe that a family is whatever you make of it. It is important to belong to something called a family, but there are lots of different kinds of families. I tend to make a family wherever I am. I have a church family, a work family, my club families, a family of friends, and a family family. 


My family family does not live in Madera, so I suppose this is why I have a tendency to make families wherever I go. I may consider you a part of my family because you and I have something in common, and I feel close to you as I would a sister or a brother. I belong to P.E.O., which is a sisterhood, and all the members are “sisters,” so of course, I consider them a family. We treat each other in a respectful, loving way as families should be toward each other.


I also belong to the family of The Madera Tribune, and it is truly what a family should be. Our “Dad” is Chuck Doud, editor and publisher, and we are all his kids. We bicker and scowl like siblings, and then love each other with a brotherly and sisterly love. Don’t you dare bad mouth any of us, as we will defend each other to the hilt. 


Today is “Dad’s” birthday, September 12. A Happy Birthday to you, Chuck Doud. I hope you have a great day. Don’t miss your birthday greeting in this issue of The Madera Tribune.


Folks, if you happen to see Chuck floating around town, don’t forget to wish him a “Happy (79th) Birthday.”


Have a great weekend, everyone!


— My love to all,


Nancy


• • •


“Dear friend, do not follow what is sinful, but follow what is good. The person who does what is good belongs to God. The person who does what is sinful has not seen God.”


3 John 1:11

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