Destruction of Family & Community Values as an Environment of Education

   The term family is difficult to define, because each culture seems to have its own terminology for such things. Family is defined as a unit of a social group usually living together. However, the Japanese think college students are family members living apart from the family. The main family unit supports the son or daughter economically until they get a job in Japan. This is because the Japanese place a high value on harmony of family but not individualism or independence.

   However, I found that children live apart from their parents after they turn 18 in America so a single student is defined as a single family. In America, a traditional family is defined as a nuclear family which consists of parents and children. Grandparents usually live apart from their sons or daughters. A three generations family that is living together is rare in America. Now Americans have variety of family types ranging from single, nuclear, extensive, single mother or father and children, gay and lesbian. Americans think a nuclear family as a traditional family, other types as nontraditional families.

   Based on Japanese traditional values, a variety of American families seem to be quite unusual. The Japanese only think about the traditional family. The census data counts the household as a unit of family, so the Japanese think typical family includes grandparents and great grandparents. Since they have larger housing, especially, in rural areas, extensive families generally live together and are thought to be traditional. In addition, the father’s authority is definitely dominant because Japanese society supports paternal principle. Nowadays, the nuclear family is increasing in urban areas mainly due to smaller rooms and Americanization of life styles. Therefore, the nuclear family itself is a kind of non-traditional family there. Even living apart, sons or daughters feel obliged to look after their elderly parents. They have a strong bond in relation to families and relatives. It might be one of hierarchy, but it has some good effect for education in family and community. They do not experience such destruction of traditional families as America has until recently.

   Thinking of traditional values like family and community as an educational environment, it is very important because children are not free from the family in developing and educating themselves. Family is especially the most important environment for education, especially in childhood. Parents’ love may be a key for children to develop their love for others. Training in family is the beginning of education. Through family and community children learn social rules and morals.

   Why after the feminist movement do we have a variety of families? Why did the civil rights and feminist movements encourage the tendency of high divorce rates? Because we thought the rights to divorce are freedom from traditional restriction such as family, we seem to be succeeding in freeing ourselves. However, are we truly free from ourselves? Are we free from our instinctive desire or egoism? Don’t we need to be free as responsible members of society?

   As the author is a man from a very traditional society, the idea here might be totally different from that of Americans. Both Americans and the Japanese need not totally be free from social restrictions if they have a valid role on education. American varieties of families seem to have destroyed those important educational roles. Not all traditional values I agree with. However, some of family and community traditions might have a normal standard because they are classical and timeless. Children learn after their parents, so Americans especially have to value parenthood and family bond; otherwise they could lose their future. My view seems to be extreme here, but it must have some cure for the destruction of family values on education.

Destruction of Family & Community Values as an Environment of Education

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Copyright © Tamaki Hosoe, 2002