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Soap Box: The Demise of "Home"

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post for a rant from atop my very own soap box.
In Western New York State, and perhaps elsewhere, there is an eagerness among young people to leave and never return. There is an idea here that this place holds nothing of any value and to be a success you must leave, to stay is utter failure. Calling this place home is a challenge, defending my decision to stick around has become routine, but to me, there seems to be no other choice. Last night, over drinks, a friend and I discussed why we decided to stay, why that decision does not equal utter failure and why other people are so eager to leave. Ultimately, after several cocktails, we decided that the eagerness and ease with which people abandon the place where they grew up comes from a lack of strong roots and essentially the demise of "home".

Our conversation has me focused on home, has the notion of home as "the place where something flourishes" been replaced by home in the physical sense, simply a place to sleep? Perhaps home has fallen to this definition because we spend so much time outside of it. I'd never go so far as to say that a woman's place is in the domestic realm but I would say there is a direct connection between women entering the workforce and the disintegration of a strong sense of home. Perhaps it is the duty of all members, men, women, and children, of the home to work towards a harmonious and friendly environment, to create fond memories, to maintain traditions and create new ones. It has become clear, at least to me, that our priorities have shifted towards career and ultimately towards the acquisition of money rather than the maintenance of a quality life. Perhaps if we focused more on each other, rather than ourselves, life would take on more meaning and home would once again be where the heart is.

This great 50s video, while kitschy , demonstrates my point well. How many families still eat together at the dining room table? How many families make time for each other and act considerately towards other members of the family. The family dynamic provides an example of how to conduct oneself in the greater community, while the home provides the support and feeling of safety necessary to lead a quality life.

I now relinquish the soap box. For those of you that have made it this far, thank you for bearing with me.



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