No Couple Is an Island - Let's Bring Back the Tribe

Relationship, today, means only the relation which you have with your spouse or life partner. When did this happen?
According to media, the other family members do not seem to figure in one's life, except on the designated days - mother's, father's, children's and the likes.

Nuclear family members who, on a day-to-day basis, focus on themselves to the exclusion of the rest of their family cannot live happily, but only barely survive in today's world, with a lot of stress related disorders - just 3 or 4 individuals of very different proclivities struggling their best to cope with each other and grow. Annual reunions and festival dinners don't count.

The cave people had it right... one big tumbling tribe...

In the apparently barbaric days of yore, the men protected and women hunted or men hunted and women kept home or so- or whatever - whatever it was, it was done in teams. Lone hunter or lone housewife wouldn't have survived the jungle, it was probably tried and tested.

The joint family system - that slightly smaller version of the tribe, had things going fine for a time as well.

Under conditions of absolute nature, meaning, all receiving due respect regardless of any gender differences or life choices, man and woman display different propensities and skills, sometimes, from childhood. The woman prefers cooperation, nurturing and healing, making daily living comfortable, secure and finds satisfaction in the happiness and approval of all around. The man prefers winning the competition, fighting it out in the world, commanding respect and envy of peers, enjoying the power of having dependents and protecting them. For survival, neither sets of aptitudes and attitudes are dispensable and so neither can they be belittled.

Joint family were successful long time ago. Just 2 teams collaborating for survival of the organization - family. Each relationship had its place. This is probably an oversimplified example, but - a developer and sales person may not appreciate each others' skills and problems but both teams are equally essential for a company and nobody argues with that. In a good team of own kind, one feels appreciated and supported, and is open to criticism.

In the joint family, every man and woman had a support system of those who are mostly in the same shoes, and therefore could understand, advise and most importantly, be valued for the same reasons. The spouse need not fill the shoe of the parent or peer or the many other relationships that have their unique duties and privileges.

There is no feeling of isolation or rejection and more over, not much time to feel so. Kids and grandparents are valued alike just as the members who do the physical work and upkeep, for they have their place, nurturing each other emotionally and spiritually. The flip side was that there is a constant undercurrent of war for survival in the clash of tastes, preferences, opinions and choices. The social and emotional growth was immense as one struggled to not get lost in the crowd. One grows up more or less balanced, with not a chip of emotional complex, of inferiority or superiority.

With so much technological advancement, even staying under the same roof is no longer a necessity but taking time out to reach out to the family has to come from the heart, at least for the sake of own sanity.
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