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Is the dream really as sweet as apple pie

Is the Dream Really as Sweet as Apple Pie?

There were a few aspects of Lawrence H. Fuchs's essay The

American Way of Families that I found extraordinarily interesting. He

discusses influences of the modern American family that I found quite

bizarre. Fuch also labels the key component to the American family as being

none other than the gratification and pursuit of one's own self being. The

most bizarre thing that overcame after reading this piece was that I found

myself to be in total agreement with Fuch. That is what scared me. I

realized that something that is supposed to be so stable in one's own life is

really as "cut and dry" as we would like to believe. In essence, the main

premise of human existence is satisfying yourself; at every level down to your

basic foundation. We fight to make our own lives better at times even at the

cost of others. This holds true in almost every arena of society that I tried to

imagine after reading Fuch's essay. The only area of life that this struggle to

satisfy yourself above and beyond all does not pertain in my opinion is

religion: it is impossible to worship a being and try to overcome that being

at the same time. Whether it involves fighting to be on top in the workplace

or playing dirty to win a sporting event; almost all Americans have the fire

burning within them that compels them to reach their goal or self

satisfaction. In reading The American Way of Families, it occured to me

that the struggle for pleasing one's own self existed even in the family.

I don't think that after reading this piece that anyone can deny the

existence of this urge in themselves. The urge exists in every form. No

matter how picture perfect the family may be perceived, each member of that

household wants to please themselves. In this quest to satisfy the appetite of

happiness we often overlook the feelings of others. For instance, suppose

that in a family that consisted of two college graduates in the role of parent,

were faced with a child (that they brought up with all of their values and

good intentions) that suddenly decides that he or she wants to move to

Hollywood to become a rock star. It is almost by instinct that these parents

will not approve of their child's decision. They do not want to lie about what

their child is doing when their friends(who coincidentally all have children in

college) ask, "Hey, what's Johnny and Sally up to theses days?" Quite to the

contrary, most parents want to be able to tell their friends straight in the eye

that their kid is going to school to learn to be a doctor just like them. When

Fuch mentioned in his piece, "In America a new kind of family system

emerged, based on the search of individual members for personal

independence.", I realized that he was talking about my family and every

other family in America. It soon dawned upon me at this point that in

America each member of a household has his or her own agenda and we set

out to fulfill it any expense; even by going astray from our very own blood.

Another aspect of The American Way of Families struck me as very

odd. Not once in all of Lawrence Fuch's essay is the word "love" implied or

written. I believe that this emotion does not exist the same way today that it

was in generations past. Now in the nineties, love has its terms, limits and

even legal boundaries. No longer in America is the love between a mother

and child sacred. This was evident in the past year when a judge in Florida

granted a child there a divorce from his parents. The word love was not

mentioned in this essay because it is not able to be mixed with independence.

Love in my opinion is a codependence between two people. At this point I

began to wonder if love even existed anymore in the American Family. Here

I was reading an essay on the modern American family written by an

esteemed expert on the subject and he happened to forget to include the

meaning of love in a family. Its importance must have fell wayside to the

philosophies of great poets such as Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David

Thoreau and their respective contributions to the mannerisms of the modern

American family. Personally, I am only familiar with the little portions of

these poet's works that I was fed in high school. I questioned my parents of

these men's influence on their parenting and they were aware of none. Then,

I asked myself, "How does my family play into the "American Way of

Families"?" It is true in my own family that each of us is ambitious toward

our own self - satisfaction. At times we will hurt or offend each other in

order to pleases ourselves. This usually occurs when my brother and I used

to fight over certain responsibilities; feeding the dog for instance. Just as

Fuch noted about the importance of self-satisfaction in the American culture,

my brother and I would follow that in this case. He would be satisfied if he

didn't have to do the chore, likewise I would have been equally as satisfied if

he had to do it. Our satisfaction would come from the sheer labor and grief

of the other feeding the pet knowing that we both shared distaste in this job.

One day it all changed. I offered to feed the dog. My brother was having a

bad day and I, OUT OF LOVE, fed the dog for him without a battle. I

ignored my own satisfaction to enhance his own. In the longrun though, I

found gratification because we began to take turns without fighting thus we

came to terms. that is why I don't agree with Thoreau or Emerson on the

importance of independence. From the experiences that I have had with my

family I believe that life is much more fulfilling at home by living the

philosophy, "Give a little, take a little." This Fuch's essay almost made me

believe that no love existed in the American family; that life centers around

one's self. if this were true the word "family" would mean nothing to the

average American. To me it means a home that I can always turn to and a

place were people care about my troubles. Of course independence and

personal agenda are vital to each and every one of us but in order to say that

"we love" or "are loved" that independence must be compromised. Two key

components of a family were missing from Lawrence H. Fuch's, The

American Way of Family. They were sacrifice and love. With the absence

of these two very important words comes the absence in my agreement with

his views.

Source: Essay UK -

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