free essays
Free essays

Function of the family the importance of parents in a Society

Byolwango 8

Functionof the family: the importance of parents in a Society

Therelationship and mutual interdependence in the society is directlycorrelated to the functional and unity role played by the family.Family is the basic component unit of any society and performsvarious functions that are essential for the wellbeing of all membersin the society. Basically the family plays a significant role innurturing individuals to become socially acceptable and responsiblemembers in regard to set norms, beliefs and cultures. As such thefamily provides psychological growth, affection, care and acts as aguide to individuals. Traditionally, families played significantroles in socializing individuals in community values, customs andcultural beliefs (Lorraine, 1959 pg 135). The family serves as animportant element in the transfer of social values, education andsocializing individuals into social beings by shaping theirpersonality. The importance of family can not therefore, be dismissedparticularly the role of parents in shaping relationships within thefamily and the society.

Thebook, “The Achievement of Desire”, presents a poor boy from aLatino family who struggles to fit in the American culture. Hisparents and nuns encouraged him to study hard for his educationsuccess. However, as he got more educated the gap between him and hisculture widened to the point of not understanding his home and familylife. As he later realized, most of the things taught in School didnot match his parents’ lessons of real life the School taught himhow to be reflexive and think rather than following his parentslessons which emphasis on wisdom.

Parentsplays significant role in socializing their children on importantvalues about life which other institutions can not teach. Thispromotes close relationships between children and their parents basedon shared values(Rodriguez 1982, pg 123).This is evident from Rodriguez assimilation in the American educationand culture which distances him from his family ties. As he pursededucation and matured, he realized that the close relationship thathad existed between him and his parents had been cut off onlyreaching emotions surfaces ‘Ikept so much, so often, to myself. Sad…. Enthusiastic’.The school life socialized Rodriguez in idolizing his teachersinstead of his parents a situation that was worsened by rapid lossof cultural identity by his parents. This situation illuminates theessential role parents have in maintaining relationships with theirchildren by constantly guiding and reminding their children aboutimportant cultural and family values.

Familyrelationships and traditions provide greater happiness thanindividual success despite his learned nature, Rodriguez felt lostand regretted abandoning his family. Families serve important part indeveloping individuals’ personality and promoting sense of selfbelonging. In addition, parents and family in general is essential inshaping the personality of individuals and how they perceive externalissues. For instance, despite all education Rodriguez got fromschool, he was unable to understand meaning and give opinions onideas of others his opinions were superficial and reflected views ofothers ‘hewas a scholarship boy, never adequate, always anxious to learn butuncreative’ (Rodriguez1982, pg 93).

Parentsin family are essential in creating a sense of belonging toindividuals within the society. They guide individuals in livingwithin the socially acceptable cultural values which in turn helpsindividuals feel comfortable. However, in the case of Rodriguez questto change his cultural links through education he began to feelnostalgic and unable to relate with fellow scholars. The bond betweenhim and other scholars was bound on a frail common scholarship andnot mutual relations which made him long for family relations. Thisis depicted at the British Museum where he listened to Spanishscholars conversing and he began to long for family relations. Thisshows that despite education and meeting other people, family tiesare important in helping individuals integrate in the society andhave a feeling of belonging.

Rodriguezstruggles with education and family life in where he suffers loss,loneliness, confusion and nostalgia. These scenarios illustrates manycases in life where family ties are broken by individuals as theyperuse career goals which leads them to ‘social imagination’individuals inner realization on the needs for inner life andexternal career. It is therefore, evident that family relations areimportant in providing company, sense of belonging, direction andpsychological support (Rodriguez1982, pg 15).

Somepeople build fences to keep people out and other people build fencesto keep people in. Rose wants to hold on to you all. She loves you.&quot

Inthe play ‘Fences’ we see a family based on sharing where Troy,struggles to provide for his family through his driving work. As thehead of the family, Troy’s also tries to guide his children thisis seen when he refuses his son join college football. According tothe father he does not want his son face racial discrimination likehe experienced in his youth days this makes the father appear as notloving to his son. Parents are important guides in defining relationsof family members and the society they guide and shape childrenrelations in the external community. In the play, ‘Fence’ thefathers love for the family is affected by his job as a garbage truckdriver and racial segregation which makes him restrict his son inplaying football. Nonetheless, he provides for the family andsupports the family members as seen when he helps his son and hisbrother(August, 1986, pg24).

Parentsplay important role in bringing up their children. They provide theattachment relations to children who help in the fulfillment ofemotional needs thereby enhancing cooperativeness and respect fromchildren. In the play ‘Fence’ we see the father promoting selfindependence on his son when he asks him not to leave his job forunpredictable career in football. In addition, Troy engages his sonin fight as a way of disciplining him when he shows insubordination.This is one important aspect of parent child relationship which helpsto set limits to certain behaviors, guide children in beingresponsible societal members and keeping the children on track intheir initiatives. In the same line, parents’ role in guiding theirchildren on external environment is also well illustrated in thisplay parents serve as life couches and counselors.

Inthis play, Troy is seen to keep people out of his life bydiscouraging them on their decisions he holds back his son Cory frompursuing career in football, Lyons and his jazz interest and betrayshis wife with other woman. Parents, especially the fathers shouldcreate a warm relationship in their families just like Rose loves herfamily she insists a ‘fence’ to be built around her family. Herlove and relation with society is manifested when she accepts carefor Troy’s daughter from the other wife who dies during childbirth.Parents should show unconditional love to their children despitetheir personal experiences when growing up this is depicted whenRose says, ‘youcan not visit the sins of the father upon the child’. Parentsshould act as change agents in their families and develop a goodenvironment where children grow in happiness. Furthermore, parentsshould present a positive picture of society to their childrendespite the inequalities that might be there (August,1986, pg24).

Inthe play, ‘A raisin in the sun’ the unity of family relations isemphasized. The family is presented as a loving unit despiteconflicts that ensues among the different members. Parents providestrong relations among the family members which are vital in holdingback the members when faced with disagreements. Similarly, familyprovides and strengthens relationships with the outside world asdepicted in this family which fights racial discrimination. Malefamily members are portrayed as irresponsible, hostile and lackingdirection while the females are portrayed as nurturing, disciplinedand responsible. This portrays the important gender roles femalesplay in the family especially in nurturing and caring for thechildren (Lorraine, 1959 pg 85).

Furthermore,parents make important sacrifices for their children in providing fortheir needs, as depicted in this quote from the play ‘Me andRuth have done some sacrifices for you-why can’t you do the samefor the family?’ Parents play significant role in socializingindividuals into acceptable gender roles within the society as wellas providing for the family. In this scope, parents are portrayed aspeople who make important sacrifices for the sake of their children.Parents’ have to sacrifice their personal pleasures for the joy oftheir children

Thereis always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that,you ain’t learned nothing….Have you cried for that boy today? Idon’t mean for yourself and for the family ‘because we lost themoney. I mean for him what he been through and what it done to him.Child, when do you think it is the time to love somebody the mostwhen they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then,you ain’t through learning’….” (135). In this familythere is individual motivation and love to goal attainment. Parentsare seen as encouraging their children to work hard in school andpursue their dreams of bettering their lives. This shows theimportance of family in providing psychological comfort to otherfamily members through giving hope, direction and motivation. In manyfamilies, parents help children connect with external environmentthrough guiding their dreams (Lorraine, 1959 pg 135).

Inthe same line, the solidarity that family espouses in their midsthelps them develop as a unit by encouraging individual efforts.Furthermore, it is through the family that children are taught how tointeract with the society in this play, parents are seen asencouraging their children to live peacefully with the larger societywhich is racially segregated. Furthermore, parents plays significantrole in molding their children to be responsible family members whosupports other family members. In families parents serve asencouragement to their children in developing warm relations withother family members which is critical for the survival of the family(Lorraine, 1959 pg 145).


Itis apparent from the plays that families serve important functions inthe family especially in giving direction, motivation, providing anddeveloping good relation between the family members and members ofthe society. It is the prerogative responsibility to provide apeaceful environment in which children grow this can be achievedthrough developing unity and love among family members. In the play,‘the achievement of desires’ we see how alienation from thefamily affects individuals. Families provide comfort, love andemotional support which are vital for individual development andtherefore, individuals should not close relationships with family asit provides balance in life. Family relationships and traditionsprovides greater happiness than individual success despite hislearned nature, Rodriguez feels lost and regrets abandoning hisfamily. Families serve important part in developing individuals’personality and promoting sense of self belonging. Therefore, parentsplay significant role in the families in developing relations withchildren, enhancing good relation with the society and theenvironment in general.


AugustWilson ‘Fences:A Play’(First edition ed.). New York: Plume. 1986. ISBN&nbsp0-452-26401-4.&nbsp Print

Lorraine,Hansberry,&nbsp‘ARaisin in the Sun’.New York: Random House, 1959. Print

Rodriguez,Richard, ‘Hungerof memory The education of Richard Rodriguez’.United States Random House Publishing Group, 1982. Print&nbsp