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Welcome to our latest publication, Family.
We hope you enjoy it!
When you think about it, families are like a microcosm of the larger community, or the world at large – like a mixed bag of lollies you don’t always get to choose and you don’t always get your favourites – but whether they are your biological, chosen or extended family we tend to come together when we really need each other.
Certainly, that has always been the way with my crazy lot – chosen and unchosen. We don’t live in one another’s pockets, in some cases we don’t talk to each other for years, but I know deep inside that if any of us need support we will be there for each other, favourites or not.
It isn’t an unconditional love, but it is a trust in knowing you have someone who has got your back. It is knowing that when a parent is ageing we will recognise they need our help, when someone has a life crisis, mental health challenges or are differently-abled we will be there for them. Not because as a grandparent, sibling, or chosen family member we want to drop everything and take care of them, but because that is what you do. And that is what we do as a larger community, that is what we do as part of our social contract with the state, with the world.
As humans we live in groups and the signature of ‘civilisation’ is the ability to care for the more vulnerable, to create ritual to bring us together, and look after each other. That is why I support free access to education, health and equity of opportunity for everyone – because that is what I would want for my family, the people I love, and that is what everyone, by extension, deserves.
It is why I care for the environment and the wellbeing of other creatures on this planet, because without each other we can never be any greater than the individual. As a species we humans have great capacity for understanding, knowledge and invention (we can also be self-righteous, cruel and down right blinkered) but it takes coming together in families, in communities, and as a world to solve the problems we face.
As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to be there for all the vulnerable people in our lives, ourselves included, as we carry each other through. By extending our understanding of family we can support each other into a more equitable world for all creatures and the planet; because if we don’t come together to carry each other through then we will never find the solutions we need for either ourselves or our future.
Perhaps I was wrong, perhaps it is unconditional love that we need.
– Aslan Shand, Editor