Recently I’ve pedaled back on a marriage proposal(I was the one to propose). I don’t feel comfortable committing to something I don’t understand. Thus I’m starting this chase for family definition.
“… a group of people regularly eating from a same pot or around a same table”
(c) Ancient Russian population census 
Klaus Schneewind considers family as a group of individuals matching the following criteria:
- Close to each other emotionally, spiritually and psychically
- Local in space and time
- Interpersonal intimacy, closeness
- Long-term relationship, responsibile for each other, obligations to each other
Why would you need one?
Just a few decades ago, family was something required by survival. Nowadays, productivity gains in most areas allow you to produce far more than you consume and fill the gaps by exchange(which is again easier in our open world). Thus,
“… a group of persons directly linked by kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility for caring for children”
(c) Anthony Giddens 
Sociologists mention the following functions of a family:
- Reproductive – inviting new bright minds into the world
- Kids upbringing – being around, so that our new bright minds will have more chances of absorbing some new experiences and thus shining even more
- Householding and economical – some people don’t like to do the dishes and I do, on contrary, I’m rather weak about shopping :)
- Recreational – recharging people intelectually and physically
- Emotional – satisfying members needs in respect, acceptance, emotional protection and support
- Spiritual – leaisure and spiritual growth
- Social – basic social control, socialization and cultural enrichment
- Sexual – you know :)
A family I was raised in followed this widely spread(in xUSSR) pattern of ‘An exploited slave’ – there’s a single working member and others just ‘love him or her’. In my family dad was the one and as I grew up, I’ve outsourced all the needs from the above to the outside world, still calling this group of people my family.
Later on I’ve replaced him for a while, supporting leisure activities, ideas and visions I don’t like. The problem, I guess was in still calling this wrong-wrong thing my family.
While CouchSurfing, I’ve discovered some pieces of a puzzle I totally loved:
- A girl hanging out in bars with her grandpa
- A guy being empowered by the knowledge of his grandpa’s teacher’s career
- People openly sharing their emotions with each other
Are you sure the thing you call your family really is the one worth it?
I’m a doer. As the book suggests, this may well be just a symptom of not being able to be close enough to people, though good start for now. Thus family is an instrument to empower me to do more, shape the world to my desires etc.
Family starts where two creatures meet, I’d like those to match the following criteria:
- Self-sufficient – basic boundary to make people comfortable about everything else which may be(or may be not) made part of the relationship. Opportunity to walk away just at any time is the best thing to keep thing fresh
- Open – otherwise relationship doesn’t makes much sense for me in any way. Any venture needing orders of magnitude raise in efficiency should stick with this
- Happy – it’s just about choosing view of the world similar to mine. I think it’s always possible to ejoy/improve any situation
- Good companion – I would like to feel both heard and have something to listen to
- Intelligent – just a prerequisite : )
- Has desire for self-improvement – to be a part of my empowering environment
- Good sex – recently I’ve discovered that’s a great indicator of all the other processes in my body and mind, I beleive that’s true for others(think Dow Jones Index for bodies)
Given the personality prerequisites, I’m building my family vision on top of that.
- We raise kids together – that’s a great way to have a long term impact on the world, even if they’re not made of my genetic material directly. Our descendants will meet somewhere in the future anyway.
- We trade consciously and reach agreements to empower each other to achieve more(manipulations no-no!), thus committing stuff(including time) we’d like to
– How to look after kids surfing around the world separately from your wife/husband?
– Everyone is self-sufficient, recall? Enter an agreement just in case.