Family is our first introduction into this physical world.
It is also our blueprint, giving us our genes, ancestral experiences, and earthly ties.
Family means so much more than nice dinners on the weekend. It can be a deep source of spiritual sustenance and meaning.
There are so many reasons why family is important. Here are the top 16.
16 reasons family is important
1) Family teaches you the values that guide you
Family isn’t all sunshine and roses: but for better or worse it teaches you the values that guide you.
Psychologists agree that our early childhood experiences and observation of our parents do more than almost anything to shape the person we become.
Family is our first school: it’s where we learn who we are, where we fit in, and what we can contribute to the world.
It’s where we face the unique challenges, rewards and situations that help us learn how to navigate the outside world later on.
Our parents, guardians, or relatives who raise us have more power than anyone will ever have for the rest of our lives.
They can shape our minds and hearts in powerful and lasting ways.
2) When the going gets rough, family is there
Some families are more supportive than others, but for those blessed with a caring and attendant family, the benefits are numerous.
For one thing, family is there when other support systems fall through.
Maybe you’re sick but don’t have the energy to drive to the medical clinic? Family comes through…
Maybe you need a break from work and are having a nervous breakdown but don’t know how you’ll cover the lapse in income? Family is there…
To the best of their ability, families do what they can to support those in their immediate and extended network.
This is so much different than a lot of the external world where many things are so transactional and money-based.
“When life gets hard, people need support. This can be emotional and/or financial support.
“Someone going through rough times will turn to their family if they trust them to provide encouragement and love.”
3) Strong family life encourages economic stability
One of the biggest reasons family is important is that families are the economic unit of well-functioning societies.
This may be a controversial statement, and plenty of cultures have different concepts of what defines a family.
But what I mean here is that a group of people – often related by blood – who stick together through thick and thin, are vital to the trade and commerce of a community.
They are havens of trust and dependability, providing a reliable base from which society is formed and expanded outward.
The family sends their kids to school and works local jobs.
The family shops at the supermarket and supports local businesses.
The family invests in their community and sticks in it for the long haul.
That’s what makes the family such a cornerstone of economic life.
4) Families encourage healthier eating habits
This one will have some readers raising their eyebrows, but in some cases family really can encourage healthier eating habits.
This is especially true of those family units who still sit down around the supper table and prepare a home-cooked meal.
Slow-cooking and putting thought and planning into a meal has really beneficial effects.
It’s even better if someone in the family is health-focused or knows about nutrition, and cooks intentionally with the aim of making both healthy and delicious food.
“Across all ages, families who eat meals together have healthier diets that include eating breakfast, ample fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed foods,” notes Michele Meleen.
“These healthy food choices create a foundation that lasts up to five years later for teens,” she adds.
5) Family offers moral and spiritual support
In a world that can be cruel and cold, family is that backbone we can turn back to.
It offers moral and spiritual support when the world seems uncaring, indifferent, or even spiteful towards us.
Our mom and dad, relatives or guardians, are those tasked with raising us.
They didn’t do it for the money, and their love is real.
Even the most messed up families have some kind of bond, and that bond is what we can turn to when the going gets rough.
The spiritual lessons family provides can also last a lifetime.
Hearing from those you respect and love about the experiences, beliefs and values that shaped and guided their life can be a deeply invaluable lesson.
6) Family provides love with no strings attached
Some families do put conditions on love. But at its essence, family is about unconditional love.
It’s about people who love you for who you are and who you could be.
People who see the best in you even when you fall short, and grieve when you let yourself and others down.
It’s folks who truly want the best for you out there in the world and who do what they can to make it happen.
Sometimes doing what they can is as simple as telling you that you’re loved and that they believe in you.
In a way, this is the best thing any family member can do for you in the end.
“Just like few of our basic requirements to live life. A human being also requires several other emotional needs like love, which is essential for mental happiness.
“Families are important because they give us unlimited love, laughter and a feeling of belonging,” writes Chintan Jain.
7) Happy families lead to happier societies and nations
There’s a saying that happiness begins at home.
I wholeheartedly agree.
Whatever your family or core homegroup looks like, the dynamics of that group define so much about who you become and what you value.
On a wider scale, fulfilling family life leads to a more vibrant and satisfying society as a whole.
When I think of the places I’ve loved most in the world in Eurasia, the Middle East and South America, there’s one thing they all had in common:
They were very family-centered.
That led to amazing feelings of belonging, hospitality and spending time together that I didn’t experience as much in more fractured, modern nations.
8) Family can give you vital advice when you need it most
Families can be a source of lifesaving advice.
A lot of the best advice I’ve ever received is from my own mom, even if I get annoyed by it at times.
Later I look back and realize she knew what she was talking about!
That’s family for you: not always what you want in the moment, but often what you need.
Family members know you well enough to tell you the harsh truth when it needs to be told.
They will tell you whether the person you’re dating is right for you in their view.
They will tell you you’re getting fat (in a nice way)…
Your family won’t sugarcoat the truth, but they’ll hopefully always have your best interests in mind.
“Family to me means encouragement, comfort, advice, values, morals, faith, understanding, hope and lots more.”
9) Family gives us our genetic heritage and ancestral ties
As the Out of the Box course teaches, and many ancient cultures as well, family is our link to the primordial past.
The blood that runs through our veins and energy that went into making us is not random or meaningless.
It’s tied to deep stories, experiences, genetic memories, and historical events.
It can often be tied to our future destiny, challenges and talents as well.
My belief is that the tragedies and triumphs of our ancestors actually live in us at a cellular, subconscious level.
Instead of past lives, I believe we are the embodiment of our ancestors’ lives in a certain way, with the addition of our own unique “I” and individuality.
10) Families show the value of solidarity during tough times
One of the top reasons family is important is solidarity.
When the shit hits the fan, family teaches you not to run and hide. It teaches you to stick together and weather the storm.
Family is about solidarity and supporting each other.
Like a team that never gives up in the face of adversity, the strong family never fractures apart under the onslaught of life.
Divorce, illness – even death – will never be enough to tear apart a tough and loving family.
11) Family helps build community spirit
As I mentioned earlier, happy families help improve society as a whole.
They make it a more welcoming place, maintain traditions and provide that hospitable and sharing spirit that makes a house into a home.
The simple truth is that families help build community spirit.
They turn a block of houses into more than just random structures.
The addition of kids ties parents together in so many more ways as well, leading to all sorts of connections and shared efforts to make life and the surrounding community positive and safe for the youngsters.
“Parents tend to get involved with their community more often than people living alone.
“What’s more, they teach their children at a young age that the only way they can control what kind of community they have is to contribute to it.”
Fact check: true.
12) Positive family ties improve mental health
Having a positive family experience leads to better mental health. When you have that rock-solid network you can always rely back on, an enormous pressure gets taken off your chest.
You don’t have to go through the world alone or be desperate for love when you already have it at home.
You’re now able to give love, to give stability, and to give reassurance to others.
13) Families show us how to form relationships and love
Watching family members is the first way that most of us learn how to love.
We see the way our parents do – or don’t – care for each other, and we imitate and internalize it.
Family experiences and relations are so crucial to our own experience of what we become later in life.
I’m not saying that if you come from a troubled family you’re doomed, but statistics show it’s certainly a harder row to hoe in order to obtain future success in your personal and professional life.
“These familial relationships often form the basis for how people interact with society and the relationships they will form as members of the community.”
14) Family gives you a material and human stake in the future of the planet
As I’ve been saying, families provide stability and hope to society.
They are a long-term investment and especially families with kids are going to care especially much about the wellbeing of the community and its opportunities.
Think of it like day trading versus long-term mutual funds.
Day traders dip in for a short profit or buy options and make money on a falling stock, in some cases.
Long-term investors carefully choose what to put their money behind and then stick with it for the long haul, exercising patience and good judgment.
Families take work, patience and foresight. They involve a certain definite and irrevocable investment in the future of this planet.
15) Family helps boost academic performance
Having a family can make you smarter. At the very least, having loving and attentive parents goes a long way toward making sure homework gets done.
With all the distractions out there from smartphones to video games, this is increasingly crucial.
Parents, siblings and relatives who encourage strong academic performance can be vital to the future success of young people.
Lack of good role models or a family environment that ignores or belittles education, by contrast, can be the recipe for future high school dropouts and kids who never feel they got the chance to succeed.
“On average, kids who are spending time with family, tend to do better in school.
“They learn communication skills and the importance of education.”
16) Family gives us interpersonal challenges that help us grow
Lastly, and certainly not least, one of the best things about family can be how bad it is sometimes.
This sounds crazy, but in many cases it’s true.
The challenges and misunderstandings that arise in families can be some of the toughest experiences we ever go through.
They can lead to serious rifts, deep hurt, or even fistfights.
But they can also give us opportunities to grow and see ourselves in a new light.
Problems and clashes within a family can become the ultimate test.
For example, having a parent who constantly undermines you and cuts you down can be an excellent opportunity to define your worth for yourself and learn not to base your value on the opinion of others.
Family vs. freedom
There are many debates you will hear about family versus freedom.
There are also many different ideas of the family from the nuclear family to the extended family, or famous gurus like Osho who claim the family itself is a burden and a curse.
Along the journey of life, you’ll meet people with such wildly varying ideas of the importance of family both culturally and individually.
For some, family means almost everything. For others, freedom and individuality mean almost everything.
In my view, a healthy society and fulfilled individual does his or her best to balance freedom and family.
They work to maintain a healthy respect for difference and free choice within the family, while also respecting the duties, values and culture of the family they come from.