Redefining Family

Letter from the Associate Editor

By Sabrina Jonas

Speaking as a former baby, I can attest that family is the most important influence in a child’s life. It is the basis of their existence, of their self-understanding.

From day one, we are dependent on those around us to provide food, comfort, love and knowledge among incalculable amounts of support, patience and time. This is unchanging.

What has changed, however, is how we define the word itself. Family. The traditional, nuclear household of breadwinning dad, stay-at-home mom, and biological child is outdated. The term has adopted new meaning and although family is everything, it’s no longer one thing.

Many of us are born with kind, caring relatives. They support, love and nurture us because that’s what families do, right? Well for some, sharing a last name or DNA guarantees nothing but genetics. Time to normalize the search for proper love, care and concern beyond our front doors.

Dysfunctional, toxic or indifferent biological relatives are just a few reasons ‘chosen families’ were created. The term originated within the LGBTQ+ community to establish “nonbiological kinship bonds […] deliberately chosen for the purpose of mutual support and love,” according to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Marriage, Family and Couples Counseling. A biological family is not a requirement to living a life filled with meaningful relationships. An aunt can fill the role of mom, teacher of cousin and friend of sibling.

No guilt should be felt in seeking a chosen few to fill a void, family-sized or smaller, left by those unable or unwilling to foster an environment of acceptance and belongingness. Family represents the foundation of self; in both faces that resemble ours and that don’t.

In life, we cannot change the cards we’re dealt, but we can choose how we play our hand.

This Family Issue, Montréal enSanté celebrates not only health and wellness but love, strength and happiness, all of which play a part in overall health. Seek solace unparalleled by that of a family. Biological or other, it’s not blood that binds us. It’s love.

 

Fall 2019, Vol 11 N°4

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Family Issue

Fall 2019
Vol 11 N°4

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Sabrina Jonas Letter from the Associate Editor

Sabrina Jonas

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