6.1.2 Family life: experience

Back to 6.1.1

Unit 6 Contents

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We shall follow the pastoral spiral again in this unit, so we begin with experience.  (If you need to revise your understanding of this way of engaging with CST, see 2.3.1/2.3.2.)

In the Exercise below, you are asked to bring to mind your own experience of family life.

For some, family has been a place of great joy and blessing, although no doubt with difficulties along the way even if nothing that isn’t an ordinary part of life.  But for others, family has been a terrible experience, so traumatic and damaging that the scars remain with them always, becoming raw again at times.  Those who come from basically happy family backgrounds can all too easily assume that others do too, and can fail to reckon with the legacy of troubled family life that some experience.  For many, no doubt, their experience is between the very good and the very bad.

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EXERCISE

Spend at least 15 minutes making notes about your experience of family life, both when you were growing up and as an adult, especially if you have participated in forming a new family.

Think about the following aspects especially:

  • what made your family life good, and what didn’t
  • the place of parents’ work in relation to the family
  • the economic experience – poverty or prosperity, or something in between?
  • the quality of the parents’ relationship
  • how the immediate family – parent(s) and children – related with extended family members, especially elderly people
  • the place of religious faith and practice in the family
  • whether the family was outward-looking or introspective
  • how the family related to its local community – were its members involved in activities beyond the necessary things (work, school and shopping)?
  • what the most important things were in the family’s life, and its basic commitments and values

The list of such questions could go on, and you might immediately be aware of very significant things in your family life which that list doesn’t refer to.

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How you respond to that exercise is of course entirely personal, so no response is given here.  However, you might wish to talk about your experience with others doing this module or even with family!

Just to prompt some further reflection on your own experience, you might like to look at a video clip in which a British man born in 1927, Peter Oakley, gives a few “thoughts on family life in the Western World”. Better known by his YouTube name, ‘Geriatric1927’, Peter Oakley uploaded more than 350 short talks to YouTube.

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Optional video  (4mins)

Geriatic1927, ‘Thoughts on family life in the Western world’ (2007)

Note

In mid-2006, a year after YouTube’s launch, Geriatric1927 had the most subscribers.1.  Peter Oakley passed away in 2014. R.I.P.

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End of 6.1.2

Go to 6.1.3 Family life in historical context

 

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  1. This is according to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Oakley, at 17th Apr. 2014. 

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