Love for Family Marks the Foundation of Civilization

Family of mom, dad, and child drawn in chalk on black slate as symbol of family love and respect for family members.

Parental love has been used as a yardstick against which to measure other types of love for centuries. (Image: Juliasv via Dreamstime)

There have been enough disputes on the sensitive topic of people loving their own children more than other kids. A number of psychologists and educators have cautioned against this type of family love, saying it paves the way for the growth of favoritism and selfishness in the social fabric. University of London’s senior lecturer in philosophy Rebecca Roache says: “The wish to be biologically related to one’s children, like the wish to associate only within one’s racial group, can have harmful effects.” A similar view has been expressed by the University of Copenhagen’s Dr. Ezio Di Nucci, who says: “A preference towards children one is biologically related to is morally illegitimate,” (Journal of Medical Ethics). 

While academics have denounced the common desire to love one’s own baby over other’s kids, the reality is that billions of parents across the world love their own offspring more. They do not feel anything wrong or unethical about showing more love to their own children, and some even feel proud about doing so. The views of psychologists and academicians notwithstanding, the near-universal preference for one’s own kids is not a disorder, and neither can it be called an expression of racism. In fact, most people think it is good and natural. In fact, parental love has been used as a yardstick against which to measure other types of love for centuries.

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African American mother giving her son a piggyback ride outdoors.
The near-universal preference for one’s own kids is not a disorder. (Image: Hongqi Zhang via Dreamstime)

Love for family vs love for others

So is the desire to see your own child excel in class or win first prize in a competition a sign of selfishness? Or should it be considered wrong if you want to distribute your assets among your kids? On the contrary, proponents of family values think these emotions hold the concept of the family together across races and ethnicities. Yes, it is true that you should learn to love unconditionally and should not differentiate against people from a family tie perspective. However, loving anyone entirely unrelated to you, unconditionally, is a tall order. It takes time for anyone to master that. Learning to love someone is easier when it is within the family setting. 

When you learn to love people in your family and feel the bond with them, it becomes easier to develop similar feelings for people outside the family tree. It is not uncommon to see people from different walks of life adopting orphans but most of them have felt the value of family bonding. The feeling of belonging to someone through love and caring makes them take that step. If there was no concept of family, the world would not be an easy place to live in for anyone. 

Cute little Arican American boy in yellow shirt kissing Dad while cooking at home together.
When you learn to love people in your family and feel the bond with them, it becomes easier to develop similar feelings for people outside the family. (Image: Aekkarak Thongjiew via Dreamstime)

Without getting the love and care from the family, people would grow self-centered and they might not feel like loving others. It is because kids experience and watch their parents doing so much for them that they realize the importance of loving and caring for the next generation. Though there are radical voices that cry out against the existing institutions of marriage and family, that does not deter the majority from embracing these traditional values.

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