TODAY -

Has modern education failed family relationships?

Shanjoy Mairembam *



Globalisation and exchange of cultures have brought changes to our social family customs and ways of living. Since change and need for adaptation is inevitable, we ought to approach proactively how we can bridge the new dreams of younger generations to the traditions so far being followed by elder generations in our locality. An occasional health-check on 'dynamics of marriage and family relationships' is worth undertaking to gauge expectations and realities within our society.

It's worth acknowledging the presence of various social value systems broadly between 'Western social value system' and 'Eastern social value system'. Western value focuses on individuality (i.e. rights and needs of individual), while Eastern value focuses on group (i.e. rights and needs of family/community). Interestingly, many words we often used in our Eastern social lives are interpreted differently to people in the West.

For example (In the West), 'family' means 'husband and wife and kids till those kids become of legal age (18yrs)', 'home' means the house one bought by self and loved to live in, 'empowerment' means 'My rights is supreme', etc. Contents of modern education system tends to inclined more towards to western social value system since the western countries are considered as 'developed nations'. We ought to be careful about what we are professing through our education system to ourselves and our younger generation when it is about social value system.

The dynamics of family structure in our society has changed with the growing trend of educated girls, financially empowered women, salaried office going women, city-jobs in formalized private companies, internet and media, etc. Such change has brought both friction and advancement to the 'institution of marriage' and 'family relationships'. Rather than arguing and fighting like 'I'm always right based on education one has had or experiences from living in another city/country', everyone needs to consider the impact of such change in family structure to oneself and our societal value system. We've to choose the best blend of values from both the West and the East, which is relevant to our local environment.

Luckily, we still consider 'Marriage as something spiritual rather than just a contract signed between a woman and man as in the Western value system'. Our families comprise of everything and everyone related to us (esp. grandparent, parent, husband-wife, kids, and grand-kids). Since married women are now working in offices or running businesses (along side men), we ought to consider sharing household works between husband and wife (and among all family members). Running a home and meeting various family obligations require full-time attention from both husband and wife (including support of in-laws).

Modern women have got own dreams to achieve and 'husband and new family' needs to consider their aspirations too. Yet, women empowerment must not be at the cost of men's indignity or breakup of earlier family relationships (with in-laws). Young married couple ought to discuss openly with each other about the roles to be taken in the new family and be diplomatic while dealing with in-laws. Every parents love and care their wards, and family relationship issues (if any) may be just about the need to sort out how to channelize the 'love and care' between the young couple and in-laws in an appropriate and understandable medium.

Raising kids by working husband and wife isn't an easy task, considering the time and effort needed to manage the kids as well as running the household activities. Kids are not something that husband/wife can program to do as instructed. Just spending money for the kids and providing things demanded by kids may not raise a child with better personality and secure future. Living separately or living with in-laws has both plus and minus points to the newly married couple.

Residing in another city by the young couple (far away from in-laws) for making a living through jobs may provide 'individual freedom (from in-laws), but may be risking the couple's own marriage (with none to calm down when differences may arise between husband and wife), or be risking future of couple's children (with none to give proper attention to kids while kids are growing up under the influence of bad habits or surrounding influences). Presence of grandparents and relatives can have good impacts on the raising of kids, while young couples are busy making career and a living.

Dumping of parents by married couple (for want of independence to decide what/how the couple wishes to lead their lives) isn't a sign of modern excellence or advancement in humanity. We are called humans and not animals; because we maintain some dignity and care for our parents, grandparents and kids. Similarly, marriage ought to be considered something more than just live-in of a man or woman and breed kids; because, that type of attitude is done more or less by animals in jungles too. Career making and working hard to make earning for better future may be essential to both man and woman, but, what matters most is having the blessing of love ones around us when making a living or wining something in own life.

We may even agree that we are living better and smarter than those generations of our elders. We may flaunt our degrees and job designations to prove our intelligence. But, on some things such as knowledge about family relationships and marriage (i.e. wisdom of life and living), our elders are quite advanced to the young couples as they've experienced it already.

Change of century or year doesn't change various aspects on family relationships and marriage. Thus, our modern education may not teach everything that is needed for a happy family and cohesive social livelihood. Let's respect and regard our parents and grandparents in the matter of wisdom of life and living. Let's remind ourselves that 'To live is the first need, while to gain knowledge or to work and earn is just to make the living'.


* Shanjoy Mairembam wrote this article for e-pao.net
Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at Leicester (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in 'conceptualization of ideas into business case', and offers role of a 'Business Doctor' to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur. For further info, visit www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com
This article was posted on May 17, 2015.


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