Monday, May 21, 2012

Family Ties and Support

It's been a long while since I wrote on this blog. Life tends to creep up on you and finding that balance can take a bit of time. Suffice it to say that while I don't know if I'll be as regular in putting up posts as I once was I am making an effort to be a little more regular in my postings. I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite the fact that it's been quite a while since I wrote up a new post, I still managed a steady stream of visitors who happened upon this page due to their interest in some topic or the other that I've written about in the past. To those of you who have checked in periodically to see if I've been around, I appreciate your perseverance;to those who are coming around for the first time, I welcome you.

So many people who have read my posts in the past know that I generally chime in when something piques my interest or I feel I have something to say (which is why my blog is titled, "Your Blog Title Goes Here" as I have a tendency to write on many different things). So recently my iPod finally gave out after six years of dedicated companionship. I absolutely have to have music with me when I drive and given my commute times it's not really that surprising. So for the week that I was without my iPod I did something I hadn't done in a very long time... listen to the radio.

Now given that things like XM Radio and the like are available I'm sure plenty of people will likely wonder why I bothered listening to the radio. Firstly, I've never really been sold on satellite radio. perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned but I prefer to believe it's because my music 'mood' is totally dependent on my actual mood. But be that as it may, I was listening to the radio for the first time in a long time and I quickly realized why it was that I had stopped in the first place. I know that the state of the nation isn't the greatest at the moment and though we are undoubtedly still not back in the best of times, I don't believe we're in the worst of times either. No matter what the situation in the nation is at any given time, I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't agree that things could be better.

But to listen to many people on the radio a lot of radio talk shows, one of the common signs that our nation is in complete turmoil is the fact that so many kids are moving back home with their parents. Now this simple fact is something that has left me a little confused. Now a lot of my friends either moved out on their own right after high school while others moved to college and from there into the real world as soon as they were able to do so. I took advantage of the fact that my college campus was so close to my home. But even more so, my parents were gracious enough to allow me to stay there. While I'm sure they (and many other parents) would argue that it wasn't graciousness but the simple fact that they wanted to continue to support their kids until we could get out on our own.

Now that isn't presumption on my part, I've had conversations with my parents on this fact and they (and others) have said that as parents, it's their duty to take care of their kids. Some parents take the opposite tact and say that as soon as a kid is old enough they should no longer be a parent's responsibility. That may be but isn't that setting them up for potential failure? When I graduated college, the job market at the time wasn't all that it was cracked up to be either. Though we were still experiencing a budget surplus (and 9/11 and the subsequent recession had yet to happen), I still struggled to get my foot in the door and get my first job. During that whole period I was fortunate to be staying at home. My parents allowed me to stay in my room and continue living as I had when I was still in high school.

Even after starting work, I did stay at home for a few more years. Many people probably look at that as a sign of me 'taking advantage' of my parents and being an undue burden on them but on the flip side, by continuing to do my part in taking care of the house (pretty much doing the chores and tasks I had been doing since childhood) I was able to save up enough that I eventually was able to get my own home. I could very well have moved into an apartment right from the time I got my first job but economically speaking it made more sense to purchase a home and that too one that I was able to afford. It helped me get a leg up and I have always been appreciative of that fact.

So it puzzles me when so many people talk about how kids moving back home is a sign that the situation in the job market is terrible. It's the way it's always been but I think people now have the expectation that the job market should be the way it was in years past, where college graduation was a guarantee of a job and that too at a certain income level. That's not the case and I think while it's not unreasonable to expect to get a job at a decent pay level (especially after going for higher and higher levels of education) we should also look at the current situation and take that into consideration. If a parent can do their part and help their kids get a little more time to establish themselves before entering the 'real world' isn't that a true family value?

It's one thing to talk about family values but its quite another to put it into actual practice. Taking care of your family is one of the most important family values out there and it has nothing to do with religion or culture but simply your belief in family. Not everyone is fortunate to have a good family to help them get established but many of us are and if that's the case, we should embrace that rather than worrying about the social stigma associated with living with your parents until you can get your situation straightened out.