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The debate on the responsibilities of an individual to the family and society will never end due to the complexities involved in defining the roles of the society in developing personality. Some sociologists have argued that people owe a lot to the society since it provides the ground for all other aspects of human and physical development (Lamanna 11). This essay discusses the most important role of an individual and examines whether people should give first consideration to their family issues before societal needs are addressed.
A family is a group of individuals that live together and are connected through birth, blood, marriage, or adoption. On the other hand, society is a group of families that share similar beliefs, traditions, and practices (Coltrane 21). However, modernization has made families that do not share the same traditions to live together since there are national and global laws that govern the behavior of human beings. Duty refers to the obligation or responsibility an individual must fulfill in the family or society. According to Emile Durkheim, everybody has a role to play to ensure the family and society function well and if they fail to play their roles the society will have conflicts.
Priority between Family and Society
Most people have become victims to their families or societies by giving the other priority in terms of appreciating their contributions in developing their personalities and shaping their future careers (Drew 65). It is important to explain that even though these are different entities they play almost similar roles in determining the future of an individual. Therefore, people should draw a balance between these two entities to ensure there are no conflicts between their expectations and the roles played by the person. The following are some of the roles that make the family an important aspect and thus an individual should focus on his duty to the family more than to the society.
First, the family is the only agent of reproduction to ensure human beings do not become extinct. This means that it is through it that people are born and raised. There is no other way people can morally and religiously bring new beings into life except through intimate relationships between a man and a woman (Chesterton 23). The society cannot give birth to human beings since it does not have the biological, physical, or moral abilities to do so. Therefore, it should be given priority by an individual since without it there is no way the human race would have existed.
Secondly, it is the first agent of socialization and through it, members learn different issues about their societies. This means that it plays significant roles in shaping the destiny of its members and without it, people would not have the skills to interact with other members in their societies (Lamanna 16). People learn language and socialization skills from family members and this enables them to blend with the rest of the society in various issues. Therefore, an individual should place a lot of emphasis on his duties to the family than to society.
Thirdly, people derive their identity from their families and this explains why some people can easily be identified with some families due to their behaviors. Every family has unique behavior and this is portrayed by its family members. This enables families and societies to have identities and appreciate their traditions without feeling that they are inferior to others (Drew 69). This identity also gives members social and emotional security that is necessary for developing positive personality and other human aspects. It is important to explain that even though members of the same society can share most traditions every family has its sub-traditions that make its members behave differently from other people. This may include names that are unique and used to identify people from different families.
Also, the family plays a significant role in bringing up children to attain their adulthood status. This is not an easy undertaking due to the challenges that parents experience when bringing up their children. Sometimes parents struggle to look for school fees and other needs like food, clothes, health services, and shelter without the help of other members of the community. These services are available to families at a fee and not for free and this means that parents must struggle to acquire them (Chesterton 28). Sometimes children are sent home for school fees and society does not help them in any way. Instead, all other activities go on without interruptions and parents must struggle to take their children back to school.
Lastly, people cannot expect the community to provide all needs to them since it cannot afford to do so. There are many conflicts among members of the same community and this makes them have different priorities (Drew 71). Social, economic, and political classes are very common in modern societies and this makes it difficult for members to help one another or even pay attention to their needs. Life in the cities and urban centers is a struggle to make ends meet and even neighbors may not have the time to visit one another and share their experiences (Popenoe 21). It is almost impossible for people to attend funerals of their neighbors since they hardly know each other and have no time to attend to issues that do not affect them. This shows that people from the same family can help one another since they have blood ties that bring them together. Therefore, society should not expect an individual to give it the priority since it does not give them the same treatment.
On the other hand, it is also necessary to explain the need for individuals to give society the priority in their duties. First, it is important to explain that human beings are not like animals since their behavior is guided by reason and not instinct. This means that they must reason and evaluate the consequences of their actions before doing anything (Coltrane 31). Society offers an environment where the family can do its activities peacefully and this means that without a peaceful society a family will also be affected. Therefore, a person must ensure he gives society the first consideration since it is the mother of all families. Secondly, people cannot live in isolation from one another since they have different skills and abilities. A family cannot have a doctor, farmer, teacher, police officer, lawyer, engineer, social worker, and constructor. People rely on one another for goods or services they cannot produce and this means that the society is very important in ensuring the family succeeds in various issues (Chesterton 26). People must seek services and goods from other members of their societies to ensure they acquire basic needs. Therefore, society is more important than family when it comes to the production of goods and services.
The family and society are very important in ensuring their members succeed in various aspects. These two entities cannot work in isolation since they depend on one another for survival. Therefore, they should be given proportional considerations depending on the urgency and relevance of their needs.
Chesterton, George. Family, Society, Politics: The Outline of Sanity, the End of the Armistice, Utopia of Usurers. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009. Print.
Coltrane, Scott. Families and Society: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Drew, Clifford. Human Exceptionality: School, Community, and Family. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.
Lamanna, Mary. Marriages, Families, and Relationships: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
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Popenoe, David. Families without Fathers: Fathers, Marriage and Children in American Society. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2009. Print.