The family has disintegrated in recent years significantly, due to a number of changes in modern society and culture. As a cohesive unit with a singular purpose, the family is sadly no more, replaced by a group of individuals with seemingly separate agendas. The contributing factors vary from a lack of parental involvement to changing cultural morality to personal indifference of the participants, but they all have a negative impact in asserting and maintaining family values in general.
In past generations, it was a foregone conclusion that a family take care of it’s own regardless of the situation. This was evident in the number of elderly who lived with and were cared for by relatives, both from a medical and economic standpoint. To place an elderly relative in a nursing home was considered a morally reprehensible act, as it was the family’s responsibility. Today, nursing homes are a booming industry, and the number of families caring for their elderly is greatly reduced. There was once a sense of debt that we collectively owed to our Senior Citizens – today they are mostly considered a burden to family and society.
The same applies to children in terms of their development and values. The high rate of single parent homes has forced society and the government to take up the part of the missing parent. In many instances it would appear as though the government is raising the children that parents are too irresponsible to care for. Pre-school, after-school, and community programs are often not much more than free babysitting for the apathetic family of these children. As a result, these children are institutionalized in a figurative sense as being part of a community, not a family. There will always be a portion of society that needs some help, but recently some segments have made a lifestyle of incorporating government programs into what should be individual family values used to resolve personal issues.
The family values of honesty, decency and concern for others have been replaced by a “Me-First” mentality, which contributes nothing to society or family and detracts as much as a selfish individual can siphon. Pride, honor and integrity have little use in today’s World – the current hedonistic values have nearly eliminated the values upon which our civilized World was built. The children truly are our future, and to take a hard look at today’s youth and think they will be the ones caring for you when you become elderly is a frightening prospect. Hopefully, the same culture that has diminished family values will legislate a better future from the family perspective.