Sunday, March 03, 2013

I Don't Know My Relatives - Family Cohesiveness

How often do you meet your relatives and what do you know about them? How do you continue to maintain family cohesiveness?

I have just returned from a wedding and many things had crossed my mind as I sat watching people come and  go.

Who Is Who
There were many guests who looked familiar but I couldn't put a name to their faces. I could smile at them and greet them, but I felt so embarassed because after so many years of my parents' efforts to introduce me to them, I couldn't remember their names and how they are related to me.

People Whom We Miss Dearly
It is also during such family gatherings that I realised the people who have left us. As I saw an old man making his way through the crowd, I immediately remembered his late wife and how cheerful she always had been when we visited her each year. I too recognised a lady who had always appeared in weddings with her mother but now she will be accompanied by someone else, because her mother had passed on.
The types of attendees at the wedding:

The Old-Timers
They form the most sociable group. They basically smile at everyone and know everyone. Don't be surprised if they can still remember what you did donkey years ago, that you yourself won't remember. I wonder if I can keep such a level of camaraderie at that old age.

The Mobile Fiddlers
Those who couldn't find anything to do or anyone to talk to. They usually would be busy keeping updates on their phones or playing a game.

The Wanderers
There are two groups for this category: child and adult. Children won't sit with their parents. They will walk towards something that interests them. Adults refer to people who are trying to find something to do besides just sitting and observing.

The Mentalists
These are people who observe, and analyse the crowd, exchanging glances but not interested to proceed to conversation. They usually prefer to be approached, then making the first approach.
I wonder what will happen after the old-timers generation. Will family cohesiveness between extended family members be just a thing of the past?

How do we maintain family cohesiveness? I think there should be more interaction between relatives, particularly since everyone is using social media platforms and messaging apps like facebook and whatsapp.

Someone in the family should take on the role of being the administrator, and collects everyone's names, addresses and facebook account names. A facebook page/group can be set up specifically for uploading photos of family members at an event or any details of upcoming events. This way, relatives can participate in online discussions, but the cons of this platform is that unhappiness may arise due to misunderstandings. But the administrator can delete hurtful comments and set up a policy against that.

Maintaining family ties is a big part of our lives and we should make this an effort now, in accordance to what Islam encourages. So, shall we begin?

1 comment:

Arlene Owens said...

I'm setting up our family tree on myheritage.com
I think that could help too.