D.E. #3 Family Values

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From where I come, Sudan, our Family Value's most important aspect is the family. Everything revolves around not only your mother, father, and siblings but rather with your cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other relatives. Sometimes I feel that values kept with my relatives is more important in our family than those kept with my siblings. I think this is mainly due to the embedding of our religion, Islam, into our culture where our Prophet Muhammad said "None of you have faith until you love for you neighbor what you love for yourself." This embedding of the religion creates a lot of my family values. But to the question of what makes my family values explicitly feminist. I think that this is answered in the role women play in holding our family values. In my culture, the children of a couple is always a million times closer to the mothers family then is to the fathers. Although it is a patriarchal society, that aspect of life is held mainly by the mother. The family values of the mother and her family is passed on to the children, and because usually marriage is to relatives, the values are passed on to the next generation, and so on. I think if anything my family values is closest to Maria de los Angeles Jimenez from the Feminist Family Values Forum. She talks about how her culture is a patriarchal culture, but the family values is held by the mother. She also says that the woman and her activities are what develops the family, which is likewise in my culture. This is probably because the woman is the most one that influences the family due to the amount of time she spends with the family.

5 Comments

I'm glad you shared this, Mohamed. I am very curious about family structures and family values outside of the one I grew up in. You mentioned that sometimes you feel that you value relatives relationships more than that of your immediate family and siblings. Sometimes I wish that the nature of my religion impacted on my family was different and incorporated my relatives more as yours seems to. My grandmas are both currently living alone as widows and I wish my religion and family accommodated them and were built into the structure of our family. Sort of the you took care of me when you were young, I'll care for you when you're old -mentality. As for feminism, it is interesting to see the structure of the mothers in your family. I would be curious to know after the children leave the house and after the parents become grandparents, do the mother and father live on their own? Does the mother continue the connection of family values after the children are gone? Thanks, Kim

Thanks Kim, and who says its too late to take care of your grandmas. Well its probably not an option right now because of college, but after college it can be an option. And to answer your questions, to give you an example: only my grandma from my moms side is alive right now. She lives in a house where two of my aunts (her daughters) are living with her, and one of aunts has a family of her own. Also even if her daughters were to leave, literally one block in every direction are houses with relatives living there who are like her children, so she would be taken care of either way. I think thats one reason my culture and religion teaches us to value our relatives immensely. And for your second question, quite ironic, my older brother was talking about this yesterday. He said that once he gets married, he's planning to have my mom and dad live with him, his wife, and children so that my parents can have a close relationship with his children.

That's interesting, thanks for the follow-up. It seems to be a recurring issue in cultures and I feel that it will come up more with the babyboomers aging. I'm glad your brother and other people are thinking about this issue as well.

This is really interesting! Although I don't hold the same beliefs as you, or come from nearly the same culture, I found myself drawing many similarities between our family structures. I don't have any siblings, but I am much closer to my mother and her side of the family. Even though she was mostly a stay-at-home mom, I don't see my family as being patriarchal. The values that have been instilled in me are most definitely my mother's.I don't necessarily think time spent with the family is the only thing that determines what values the children have. Although it's not always true, and I'm not saying men can't be just as emotional and vocal as women, mothers have a tendency to be somewhat more nurturing, and communicate more. I don't see this as being a societal stereotype, etc. I just think it's a fact. As a child, my mother always sat me down and explained WHY, when my dad scolded me for being wrong. I think this extra time spent by a mother, and in my case, a stay-at-home mom who had more time to do so, largely contributes to a woman's values being passed onto the children in many societies.

Mohamed, I was wondering if their is a reasoning behind why your family is closer on your mothers side than on your fathers side. Is that a coincidence or is there some type of rational? Does that play off of Lindseys notion of mothers being more vocal and better at communicating? I think that Jimenez's idea about women being more influential on a childs life because of the amount of time spent together is true. Although, I think that the same could be said about a father, if there was the case that he spent more time with the children. However, most of the time it is the mother that spends time with the children, so her values are passed on.

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