Sunday, August 15, 2010

Familial ties are disintegrating?

As I read Japan, Checking on its Oldest, Finds Many Gone by Martin Fackler of The New York Times, I found it interesting that many statements in the article resonated with what I have been thinking about for quite a long time--but now more than ever.

"Or was the whole sordid affair, as the gloomiest commentators here are saying, a reflection of disintegrating family ties, as an indifferent younger generation lets its elders drift away into obscurity?
“This is a type of abandonment, through disinterest,” said Hiroshi Takahashi, a professor at the International University of Health and Welfare in Tokyo. “Now we see the reality of aging in a more urbanized society where communal bonds are deteriorating.”

It should come as no surprise that I ponder deeply about all aspects in regards to family. But through my observation, it seems to me that familial bonds presently, in the 21st century, are not as strong or important as they seemed to be in previous time periods. It saddens me to think that while my aunts, uncles, and parents gather together quite often (at least three times a month, if not every other week), I can't see myself having such frequent reunions with the family members of my generation (the F1 generation to be exact) in the future.

"Some health experts say these cases reflect strains in a society that expects children to care for their parents, instead of placing them in care facilities. They point out that longer life spans mean that children are called upon to take care of their elderly parents at a time when the children are reaching their 70s and are possibly in need of care themselves."

When I was younger, my aunts and family members would ask me if I'd take care of them and give them money when I grew up. Of course I said yes without hesitation. Now, I am sure that it still holds matter how strained our relationship. Because, unfortunately at is still family. But I cannot see myself living with my parents or anyone else in my family for the majority/the rest of my life. I would absolutely go insane. Another example that adds to my theory that family bonds are disintegrating. 



Rhain Hollis said...

i came across your blog today, love this post! it's important for us to think about. one of the most amazing and vital things about Japanese culture (and many, many other cultures besides that of the West) is that they respect and value the elderly so much. It would be a shame to see that tradition go away...not just a shame, it would forever change the culture.