Family is more than shared blood.

sharing cherry tomatoes

Culturally humans tend to gather in ever larger groups. The core of this social arrangement starts with families. Families form clans, who form tribes, who form nations, who the historians tell us go on to found countries and so on. This has been the model for as long as I can remember in every social studies textbook I’ve read.

I don’t especially believe it though. My premise is pretty simple, although I may have some personal bias to believe otherwise. I think people today are pretty much the same as people five thousand years ago. Our science and technology may have changed, but people are still people. We act and react just like our ancestors did.

So here is my argument for families of choice rather than blood relatives as the basis for societies before recorded history. People find others they like and avoid people they don’t like. You can see this in kindergarten classes, college orientations, employees, churches, and even retirement homes. Family remains important of course, but close friends are often just as important.

This isn’t just a modern concept, or one especially true in America. I’ve traveled around the world enough to recognize families of choice when I see them. Life long friends come from all over, not just school chums either; neighbors, co-workers, and fellow hobby enthusiasts qualify here. Humans go out of our way to make connections beyond the family.

In my stories families of choice are implied, I don’t always make a big deal of the social structure, but it’s there. Friends are often the only support a character may have if family is unwilling or unable to provide a shoulder to cry on. This observation came to me from my experiences in life, but it is more real to me for having lived it.

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