In September 2013 my blogger friend Linda wrote in a comment to one of my blogs:
“As I grow up 🙂 I discover that families the world over and through the centuries have been weird. Just plain weird! It’s a good thing to know. More kids should recognize this fact so they wouldn’t feel so isolated by the facts of their families.”
And my reply was:
“Quite amazing, Linda, isn’t it? What exactly do you mean by ‘weird’? Families that are somehow ‘dysfunctional’? What about divorce? Hasn’t this been on the increase in our time? Maybe it has partly to do with the increase in life expectation? In any case I believe it is important for children to know who their parents are. Whether they stay through all their growing up years with one, two or none of their parents this is a different matter. Some parents might not be the best option for a child, but the same goes for some institutions. It all depends. I did get to know during my growing up years some very well functioning families. I am talking about our extended family and about the families of some of my friends. I also saw examples of desperately struggling war widows with for instance four children and a bone breaking job with very little money. When I was a child a lot of people seemed to blame WW II for the increase in dysfunctional families.”
I experienced my growing up years in Berlin, Germany. During my teenage years I was always dreaming of living in some other country with a different family. I feel, having lived in Australia since 1959 I grew more and more apart from Berlin. Over the years I have been back to Berlin for some family visits. But I am always glad when I am back in Australia. It is quite amazing how Berlin has changed over the years. I can understand how a lot of young people feel now
attracted to living in Berlin. However, I definitely want to spend the last few years of my life in Australia. Even my husband Peter, who has still very strong attachments to Berlin, prefers to live in Australia for as long as he can still afford to go back to Berlin for regular visits!
My parents separated soon after WW II. Then, around 1950, my mother demanded a divorce. During 1948/49 Peter’s mother left Peter’s father and got a divorce from him. Peter and his two sisters moved along with their mother. Both our fathers, Peter’s and mine, died long before our mothers. Both fathers had suffered badly due to war experiences.
All my cousins seem to come from very stable families. The generation of my nieces and nephews is different though. Whereas Peter’s nieces and nephews seem to come from rather stable families. Of course, Germans these days have very small families. Some people point out, the increased influx of migrants to Germany could be a blessing, for there are too many old people in Germany and not enough young people. Still, this enormous influx of refugees, that is taking place right now, does cause major upheavals. I hope, all this can be settled in a humane way, and a lot of effort will be directed towards avoiding outbreaks of violence.