Over the years we all have heard how important family is, how family should come first, etc.
Is that still true, or was it ever true?
Confucianism proclaims that family is one of the five founding virtues, although that are not the words they use. When the primary occupations were farming or agriculture, warring and collecting taxes, with a few civil works like canals, bridges, dikes, roads, and land passed from father to eldest son, perhaps family was more important. Land was the primary resource, and it need to protected, cared for, worked, and look after. The youth were the parents retirement plan so to speak.
Now it is often each man for himself. Half the North American population grow up in blended families, single parent, or in conflicted homes. One hundred and fifty years ago, a youth would at birth know to about 80% certainty, his occupation, and where he would die. About 20% would not follow tradition. He would likely marry a neighbor or his second cousin, within his religion. He would arrive at middle age having never made a major decision, but rather just doing the next right thing. He would not question his beliefs, for everyone he knew would believe about the same thing.
Many of us grew up in a traditional situation, but could see no future in those occupations for the numbers required were in decline. We grew up in a changing world. I say both sides of farming, the hangers on to the traditional, working horses and oxen, and the younger industrialized farming starting. We were in between. I also say the money from other occupations, and they were doing far better. I chose to seek my fortunes off the farm in the industrial world. Family was a drawback as moving was required, far and often. I was raised in a home where my father felt he was screwed by his family, one brother for sure, and he had a lot of resentment to them. My mother, was the other extreme, enmeshed would be the modern term. We grew up physically close to mothers extended family; we never shared a fence line, but when mother looked out the bedroom window, she could see here uncles house and her fathers barn. There was a patch of bush between her and the house location where she had been born in. Progress occurred. My family moved a mile closer, but below a ridge of hills, where the sight line was blocked.
Now with modern transportation and good roads, to get anywhere, all is required is time. Work, career development, and the like also require time; so we make choices, family connections suffer. And then there are personality conflicts; it is not necessary to visit people who are negative, abusive, degenerates, heavy drinkers, or live in other undesirable environments, like being married to a vicious shrew. (aka "a personality like a rusty chainsaw") Oh well.
So how important is family? Well it was important, but now we can chose to leave and forget the bad ones. Family is of equal values to friends, in my priority list. Phones work both ways. We know they are out there, but contact... not so much. The idea of building something (farms) to pass on to the next generation is gone.
The idea of building a business to pass on seldom works. Junior is just not interested, does not have the temperament, or is to lazy, into drugs, or just does not have the maturity at the time. Junior usually does not do well after the take over, but there are cases where it does work. I do know of a few cases were senior help junior start and build business. In all these cases, junior and senior were compatible. My father was so negative, few could get along with him and I could not. I became that way also with age and arthritis pain, and with people who know so little that I am at a loss for words to describe. I do not like to teach basic stuff repeatedly because they are unable to retain the knowledge.
So is it family or relationships in general that give us problems? I think in my case it is relationships. Oh well, itewajda.