There’s nothing more important than family

Anastasia Spytsya

I remember when I lived in Western Ukraine (I am not Russian, as some of you may have thought), I was extremely close to my family. My cousins were substitutes for my non-existent brothers and sisters; my grandparents and my aunts quite often played the role of my parents. My parents often were parents to my cousins. All of us were somehow responsible for each other.

We always helped out one another without asking for anything in return, and this help was not so much material as it was emotional. Our family only has 10 members, but had and still has something that I would like to call “a family unity.”

I remember long and snowy winter evenings while drinking lots of tea and talking with almost my entire family in person every day. I remember my grandmother teaching me how to read the map of the world, another grandmother teaching me how to needlepoint, my aunt telling me about her new boyfriend and teaching my little cousin to subtract.

I never realized what I had until I moved to the U.S. five years ago. Family dinners, which now happen only once every four months, which have three participants, are not as fun as they used to be. Every time holidays come, we do not fully enjoy them because we are separated from the rest of our family. I bet each of us secretly wishes to be in Ukraine just for that one evening. I do.

Family values are extremely important to the world’s citizens. For many years the American family and its values have been one of the top priorities of this nation. The family is an essential part of the American Dream that we are so fond of. The basic idea of success in America is measured by how well one can provide for his or her family.

Charles Caleb Colton once said, “The family is the most basic unit of government. As the first community to which a person is attached and the first authority under which a person learns to live, the family establishes society’s most basic values.”

Family values are the core of our way of living. Theories suggest that even the primitive caveman was very loyal and respectful to his particular family unit. People of our time have followed this lead of family values and citizenship up until the present day. A nation, being of mostly socially compatible people, functions in a similar way as a family. The nation selects its “national family values” and puts it into law.

Family values are very meaningful. For the greater good, a society must have adequate family values to prevent chaos. America seems to be gradually losing these very important values. Neglecting one’s family and living a reckless life could have dangerous consequences. I have met many college students who waste their precious time by partying in night clubs, getting into drugs, wasting their parent’s hard-earned money and most importantly neglecting their studies – instead of spending that extra minute with someone who cares for them the most.

It is common to see people turning their backs on their families when they need them the most, while forgetting that only their family can come to their rescue (and friends who you call family, of course). When I saw such situations occur after I left most of my relatives in Ukraine, it made me realize the true blessing of being close to my physically distant family and how it protects me from the evils outside.

The loss of family values happened because of the reduction of morals by our society and a brainwashed acceptance of what we know is clearly wrong. It is one of a citizen’s most important duties to uphold family values. Failure to do so may result in an incalculable loss, such as the destruction of a society you have strived so long to build.

Our biggest problem today is individualism. While it is important to maintain individuality, we must not forget about people who made you you. I think becoming more family-oriented won’t hurt anybody. And being a part of a strong community will create a better living environment for our children.

I would imagine most people desire love, care, intimacy, acceptance, commitment and shared responsibility. Family values provide those, along with belongingness, esteem and self-actualization.

Anastasia Spytsya is a senior Russian translation major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].