The breakdown of family

As nations we may not be quite civilised, because greed predominates. What of family and society? Has the individualistic ethos of the immigrant-created nations of the West derailed any aspirations by their citizens to develop their spirituality through building up an enhanced sense of community? As a bicultural Asian-Australian formed by the communalism of my antecedents in Ceylon and Malaysia, but with my feet deeply grounded in the West, I can see the increasing barrenness of society in my adopted nation.

Change is ubiquitous. Is there anything which, over time, does not change? Society changes, as many a conservative family or society has discovered to its dismay. I have been changed by the new nation into which the spirit world (so its representatives said) placed me, with me reciprocally contributing to certain necessary changes in Australian society. Having lived a highly-interactive and contributory life for more than 6 decades in Australia, achieving leadership positions in civil society, I can claim to have had my fingers on Australia’s pulse for an adequate time. Why am I now disturbed by some of the ways my adopted nation has changed?

When I arrived during the White Australia era, family life (and its mores) were little different from what I had experienced. The male breadwinner was supported by his spouse through maintaining the home and bringing up the children. (There were exceptions, of course.) Hardship was the norm, as was self-sufficiency, with some help from good neighbours and relatives. Public transport supplemented the use of one’s legs. Neighbours talked to one another, not being isolated (as now occurs) by car ownership. Children created their own enjoyment, even making their toys. (I did – from kites to tops, to a high jump frame, to bows and arrows.)

At mealtimes, the family ate together (generally at set times), and brought one another up to date on their respective activities and experiences. ‘Structured rituals’ represent the basal level of communicating within families. Read Francis Fukuyama’s ‘The Great Deterioration.’

Now, most of that has reportedly changed. The sense of co-dependent communities; of a cohesive family; and of mutual individual help, seem increasingly part of history. Worse still, families are breaking up, with children denied the love and care of both parents, in so many instances, because of the asserted rights of the adults (especially in relation to career, sexual activity, lifestyle, location of residence and, strangely, getting onto the public teat); the needs, especially the psychological needs, of the children, and the psycho-genetic bond between child and absent (often, forcibly absent) father are ignored.

I have not heard of any objectively reliable research on the emotional and psychological impacts of family breakdown on children. Children will adapt on the surface. What alternative do they have? What of their emotional and psychological pains? Do these not matter?

Recently, a retiring member of the Family Court, which has the difficulty of adjudicating between contesting parents, was reported to confirm what many us have been told – that many women claim falsely that their child’s father had molested the child sexually, with no evidence provided.

The core question here is – without cohesive families can there be society? Without a cohesive society, will pack behaviour be the norm, with the State and faceless bureaucrats determining how people live?

Refer my book ‘The Dance of Destiny,’ available at $US 2.99 at Amazon as an ebook; also Francis Fukuyama’s ‘The Great Deterioration.’