Dictionary.com defines “family” as:
1. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.
2. Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.
While there may be continuing erosion of the family according to the first definition, there seems to be a corresponding growth in the concept of family as described in a larger sense. That is probably because being part of a family promotes the survival of all members of the family. Even if the extended or nuclear family is dispersed by economic circumstance, individuals need the protection and support of a group that functions as a family.
A wide range of family units exist and new ones appear constantly. Whether they are common marriages, gangs, communes, cults or congregations, they perform much the same function for their members. They support values held in common and provide a structure for achieving common goals.
In the short time since I started Ripples, I can already see a development of a sense of family with some of the people I have met through this weblog. We share experiences good and bad, and seek to help each other through difficult times. I meet new people every day with whom I feel an instant bond. This growing sense of kinship gives me hope that the magic of net communication will aid us all in ways we never anticipated.
I am deeply indebted to Fred for providing the impetus for me to start writing again, to Mary Beth for a warm welcome to the world of weblogging and to my wife, Gretchen for wholeheartedly supporting me in this endeavor.
We are overjoyed to find ourselves becoming part of an ever-growing extended family of webloggers who derive support from each other. It is like connecting up to a family we didn’t know we had.