Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quality of Family and Home

Quality of family and home... mmm, well for me it still means a lot and I suppose to many people in this country/world family is important. To support that, I just read that out of the nearly 50% married households, 72% are still married to their first spouse. Interesting that some people deny such statistics... Someone asked this question the other day... "What do you think of when you hear the word 'home'? I said mother and grandmother at home, and that home is the place where I lived, ate and slept. Mother and grandmother came to my mind first and then grandfather and father. I put father last because he was always working and my grandparents 'retired' were always at home, always there... in a place where I always knew they would be. As a sociologist, I think that this last part is most important. Home is where those we love will always be.
Today, however, many people 'families' don't live together, extended family  live separately. From my observations, most people don't live like a family should. What do I mean by that... I mean that most families are living in households that are islands of 'home' and household economic connectedness.  50% of Illinois students live in low income households. And, though that stat is high for Illinois, it is interesting that across the nation (including Illinois) some eight in 10 Americans report eating at fast-food restaurants at least monthly, with almost half saying they eat fast food at least weekly. Only 4% say they never eat at fast-food restaurants. Now, complicate that view with this stat - 77%  of Americans reported eating dinner at home which is essentially unchanged from the 80% who said so in 1989, the last time Gallup asked the question. The 10% who said they ate at a restaurant 'last night' is also on par with the 8% recorded in 1989. Statistics are gathered and they only result in probability. However, what is probably going on in today's households is anyone's guess. Better would be to conduct a qualitative research and find out what Americans families are eating at home and how often they eat at home.
Over a period of 4 years, I asked my college students how to cook, most said they pop something in the microwave, like mom does.  So, what does that tell us. Mom is busy (not at home) and dinner is frozen until she gets home and takes it out. As I remember home and family, the most important thing for me as a child was knowing that mom was home - cooking and cleaning. That was good enough for me. It was not just cooking and cleaning, but how the cooking and cleaning was done, I noticed that too... it was done with love, it was done with care and a promise for the future.  Can't that happen too if mom or dad uses some frozen or packaged dinner. I would suppose yes... but as a qualitative researcher, I would question the quality.

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