Many definitions of the word “family” vie to become the most prevalent and relevant ones. Whether it’s a “group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit”, “all the descendants of a common ancestor”, or even a “fundamental social group in society”, trying to narrow down such a ubiquitous term is a thankless task.
Not only is it thankless to try and extract a single meaning out of this term, but it’s also very wrong. The family has had too many meanings throughout history and very often it had very little to do with blood kinship or legal marriage either. Any group of people tied together by the same set of circumstances often harbored emotions and loyalty to each other, the kind of which we prescribe to a modern nuclear family.
But, besides the inability for a single term to encompass all the historical context of the word, it’s also hard to elaborate on what “family” means in the dynamics of the contemporary world. Rather than trying to capture all of the modern family structures, a more prudent task is to discuss the importance of family in the society, and the values it instills in its members.