The American Way

Was thinking yesterday about the differences in world cultures, specifically, the ability of those in other parts of the world who embrace and benefit from multi-generational co-habitation.  Families who do not grow up and move away from their family, but who start their own family with the benefit of parents, grandparents, siblings, and etc. sharing the same roof, pooling their resources together and defining family and community in a whole different context than the what has morphed into the American definition of the word.

My dad used to dream of owning a large piece of land, and having a big house where all his kids and their kids could live, so that he could enjoy them as he aged.  Of course, he never got what he dreamed of this side of heaven’s gates, but I think he was a bit ahead of his time, or maybe behind it.  This kind of mentality goes completely against the grain of the American Way.  The “I, ME, MINE” mentality.  America’s progress report, if we had one, would fail at “shares well with others”, and “treats others with respect”.  What would it take to reverse this?  I think it would have to start with personal revival and a change of heart regarding the practical application of denying ourselves, laying down our rights, and looking out for the good of others ahead of watching out for #1.

I think that people who can figure this out, and learn to live in harmony with others (as opposed to isolating themselves and denying themselves a part in community), will be ahead of the game during troubled times that are headed our way here in America.  What do you think?

6 comments on “The American Way

  1. have discussed this many times …but, it does go against what the “norm” has become…we don’t take the initiative to do it…Wouldn’t you love to be the barrrier breaker…and see how it would work…at least try!…

    • I would love that, Marilyn…just not sure if my kids would at this point, lol. Can you imagine the $$$ savings when combining the resources of two or more families. Rent split in half/thirds/or fourths…as well as other budgeted categories…

      It would take communication skills, and a devotion to cooperation for the sake of the whole group, as opposed to just ourselves.

  2. I would love to do this-but could not bear to live where the rest of my family likes it. I wish they would move up where I am, and we could all live together. Maybe it is selfishness on my part–I am the one who moved away from my home city. I have a country spirit that was never happy in a giant metropolis.
    I think when we do this, it is our grandchildren who suffer the most. Ideally, they need to be surrounded by the love and support of an extended family.
    I share your dad’s dream, but know that it is not likely to happen with my own children either. Society pulls us too many ways, and it takes more than just one of us to buck the tide.

    • It would be difficult to just jump into this counter culture. I think a good starting place would be having to move in an elder who couldn’t live alone anymore…or a parent moving in an adult child with or without children…and finding a way to make it work, to the point of making other children jealous, lol….I don’t know. Like I said, I’d love to do it, but I don’t think any of my kids would. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to when I was their age, something about growing older, and maybe even the loss of parents, that makes one re-think the norm…and wish for a better way.

      • I think some people just think more about the extended family, staying close by, and also to setting down roots. But those of us who do are a lot less common in the cultural drive for individual satisfaction. My brother lives with my mom, and is an excellent caregiver. My mom declined to move to where I live–she loves where she lives even though I didn’t want to stay there. I think it would be a boon to society for us to make arrangements for more communal types of living arrangements, whether family or friends or simply like-minded individuals banding together for companionship/safety/finances, instead of the incessant demand to be self-sufficient in entirety. There needs to be more steps and options between living alone and the dependency and illness of a nursing home. For me, ideal would be a multigenerational family life, but that is just a dream.

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