Here is an article contributed by our dear friend Melinda Coates. We thank her for her support of A.F.M. and look forward to many more contributions from her! Enjoy! As always may the Force be with you.
As Bob Dylan aptly put it - the times they are a changin.
And so in the 21st century the definition of "family" has also undergone a metamorphosis. The traditional family stereo-type has consisted of two parents of the same race and religious affiliation, mother + father + offspring. But in this day and age there are many different types of families that come in all shapes and sizes. There are interracial families, families whose parents have different religious beliefs, single parent families, families with two moms or two dads, families blended with children from previous marriages, adopted families and families with children who have special needs, to name a few.
This blending of different cultures and lifestyles into our families and our society presents challenges at times but also weaves a tapestry that enriches the lives of our children and teaches them acceptance and to respect and embrace diversity in others. As each new generation is taught these values, hopefully, prejudice and intolerance will eventually fade away and become extinct like the dinosaurs.
Sadly, there are still some narrow minded individuals and religious groups who don't get it, who oppose interracial and same-sex marriages or single parent situations and deny the validity of their families. This kind of attitude is hurtful and only serves to cause damage, especially to the innocent children who belong to these families. We need to spread the message that ALL families are valid and deserve respect and dignity. ALL families are special.
Of course what really makes a family is LOVE. Love is the glue that binds a family together. Where there is LOVE nothing else really matters. When people are lucky enough to know this kind of love it's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.
Whether your family is the one you were born into, or the one you have chosen, REJOICE, CELEBRATE and be PROUD!
All you need is LOVE.