I was sitting among family and friends recently when it was casually stated, "There are more and more FRACTURED families out there these days." The word hit me like a verbal assault. I knew that the intent wasnt to offend me, but I also knew that I illustrated the intent behind the use of "Fractured Family": a single parent, divorced, or re-blended family. The offense made me think.
Merriam-Webster defines the medical term Fractured: (noun) the act or process of breaking or the state of being broken; specifically : the breaking of hard tissue (as bone).
Quick medical run down of a fracture in layman terms:
- Fracture: hard tissue is broken (bone is broken)
- Cartiliage begins to weave through out the bone forming a "fracture callous" binding the hard tissue together
- Hard tissue begins to heal using the fracture callous as support.
- Eventually, the fracture callus is remodeled into a new shape which closely duplicates the bone's original shape and strength.
I love love LOVE that last part... the part that reads: duplicates the original shape and strength.
Just thinking outside the box, why is a family that has been broken, have to continue to be labeled as "fractured"... even after healing has set in? If the family doesnt fit the traditional mold: mother, father, and 2.5 kids, why is it still considered broken?? Yes, there is overwhelming studies that have proven that children thrive the best when there is a father and mother that are involved and are supportive in their lives. Yet, I have seen the damages first hand of a child that is involved in a family that, although intact, is fractured in every way. "Thrive" is not the word that would be used to describe the effects on that child. The family unit, although intact technically, is weak and broken. Broken and weak is the complete opposite of the life my daughter and I have recreated together for our family. OUR FAMILY. Her and I are a complete family unit, a very much intact, strong, supportive and functioning family. Hardly fractured now.
I implore those of you that use this term to think twice before you use it again. To vocalize this definition to describe a single parent family portrays a weakness. This injects that weakness into a healing environment, and rather than supporting and encouraging restoration after disintegration- it undermines the regenerative advancements and continues to recognize the family in it's most painful state- broken. This implies a hopelessness. It illustrates to the child, as well as the parent, that they are missing something; like a puzzle that never can be completed without the missing piece. And what do we do with puzzles that are missing pieces?? We throw them away. They are useless. Let's change our thinking. Let's build our families up, and use edifying definitions to describe those that dont fit in the "normal" box of society.