How Do You Define Family?

“This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good… yeah, still good”. – Stitch

I love that quote from the animated Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch. It has me thinking about family, how we define it, and what it means?

Family has been described as the center of the universe by some, and the cause of all harm by others. From the moment we are born we are brought into a family. Every person has a birth mother and birth father… but what is family beyond that? Some of us grow up never knowing our birth parents, some of us are “adopted” into a family when we’re beyond our cute baby stage, by a friend’s parents taking us in, or our in-laws providing a safe family atmosphere. Sometimes we choose our family… known as “friemily”. Sometimes we find a family by chance. I always love those stories where two people mistakenly find each other and end up with a deep connection. Many people are blessed to have a loving family, I myself describe my siblings as my best friends. So, is family the group of people we love? The group of people we tolerate? Maybe they are our best friends, or the people who accept us for who we are? There are so many things family could be… but most certainly, these questions have deeply personal answers.

There are countless articles, blog posts, and professional opinions on family. In the Bible we might come to understand that God meant for His people to exist within a family… by creating Eve, He created the first family. Even Buddahism has strong community connections, although they are not known for strong family values (teaching detachment doesn’t pair with family)… they still practice and teach in groups or communities. No matter your beliefs, we can see this as an example that people are never meant to be alone and we long to connect with others. We are, by nature, a social species. Society and culture today certainly have a variety of definitions on family, but it remains true that family is essential. Whether it’s the family you’re born into or the family you choose!

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