This is the actual definition from infoplease.com:
Pronunciation: (fam'u-le, fam'le), [key]
—n., pl. -lies,
1. parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family.
3. the spouse and children of one person: We're taking the family on vacation next week.
4. any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins: to marry into a socially prominent family.
5. all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor.
6. Chiefly Brit.approved lineage, esp. noble, titled, famous, or wealthy ancestry: young men of family.
7. a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants.
8. the staff, or body of assistants, of an official: the office family.
9. a group of related things or people: the family of romantic poets; the halogen family of elements.
10. a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together: Many hippie communes of the sixties regarded themselves as families.
11. a group of products or product models made by the same manufacturer or producer.
12. Biol.the usual major subdivision of an order or suborder in the classification of plants, animals, fungi, etc., usually consisting of several genera.
13. Slang.a unit of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra operating in one area under a local leader.
14. Ling.the largest category into which languages related by common origin can be classified with certainty: Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, and Austronesian are the most widely spoken families of languages. Cf. stock (def. 12), subfamily (def. 2).
a. a given class of solutions of the same basic equation, differing from one another only by the different values assigned to the constants in the equation.
b. a class of functions or the like defined by an expression containing a parameter.
c. a set.
To me, family is not just the people you are genetically related to. Family is a group of people whom you love and care about, who also express and return the same feelings to you.
This does not apply if you are pretending to be someone you're truly not, even if you try really hard to be that person, with good intention. Well, even with bad intention, this statement is still true, right? Let's say, you are attempting to fit into a group of people (for argument's sake we'll give a good example, a church, and a bad example, a gang). In either group, those people would probably not feel the same way about you if you cannot, or choose not to, abide by their rules. To most of them, you would no longer exist. Others may still greet you in public, maybe a little head nod as they look around to see if anyone else is looking, but in both cases, there would never really be that same closeness you had, or would have had, if you'd fully made yourself into one of them. Although, a lot of people, in my experiences, can put up one hell of a front and keep people fooled for, well, ever. That takes a lot of work! I am just not capable of doing such for very long, though.
Most people, these days I think, talk of family as definition #4. In my little world, I consider it to be #10. Does that make me a hippie? So be it. I'd rather be a hippie, then. Peace and free love! LOL So, for future reference, when reading this please keep in mind that I am referring to family as the people I consider to be my kind of family, and not just people with relative DNA or surnames. I have many people with a genetic link to me that I do not consider family in any way. Reason for that will be stated in the latter of this blog entry.
Family will make mistakes, but it is up to us, as human beings, to realize that none of us are perfect, and we all make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes and strive to do better the next time. I've made many of my own, and will surely make more, but I learn from them, are forgiven for them, forgive others of theirs, and we all move on. Not always. I can't help but sometimes not ever 'get over' some things. But like I said, none of us are perfect and I try to always 'forgive and forget'. It's just not always possible, yet I do try to mend the things (a very slow process) that aren't forgiven and forgotten in my mind and heart.
Family does not turn it's back on family because of someone expressing their thoughts and feelings. Family will listen and express thoughts and feelings in return. I may not agree with the way a family member is living their life, but it is THEIR life to live in the manner they choose. Think about it, if you don't agree with their lifestyle, they OBVIOUSLY don't agree with yours, but did they turn YOU away? I'd hope not. If so, don't give up. Keep trying, just not too hard. It could be a complete waste of your time and energy and annoying to them. Although, there is family that I do not turn away, but I do what I call "tough love". I'll keep my distance in the hopes that they eventually improve or I forget whatever it was that started the problem. Usually it's for the sake of the health, safety and sanity of my immediate family. I do not apologize for this, as no one should feel guilt for. These people I live with on a daily basis are much more important to me than those people who are harmful in any way, as my children are the most important people in my life for EVER. (Yes, the space is appropriate between for and EVER.) They rely upon me, and only me, for life, health, and a proper upbringing. All the others already had their chance for this. It's not my fault or responsibility if others had it wrong or made it that way themselves.
And, these people have been given many chances to right the wrongs or to change their attitude toward certain people and things but just refuse to fix the problem. I do not like being made to feel as though I am the problem and need to change when I am not the one with the problem. Jeebs, I feel the need to explain so as not have people getting all ranty and ravey with me. For example, a person, genetically-related to me is an addict to something which is illegal to have in your possession or use to an illegal extent. This person refuses to get any help or try to be a better person but also is expecting ME to change my belief that this is harmful to them self and others in contact with them and just plain wrong because it is ILLEGAL and I am supposed to accept them and their bad habits and allow my immediate family, including my children, to be around them. I could give so many examples, but it would start being obvious who I was talking about.
Family is there when you need them the most (although, not always there for everything) even if they have no real way to help, they're supporting you by just being there, even if not physically. Family is there even when you don't need anything at all.
Family isn't about giving, having or taking money (Which of course leads to: do not 'loan' money to family. You either give it to them and accept the fact you will not get it back or do not give it to them at all. Okay? Thanks.), material things, the way you look and dress, or being better at something than someone else. Family is about loving each other, in spite of having/not having, being/not being these things.
(I accept that this paragraph seems pretty off base, but I kept it here anyway. It does explain my relation to the above paragraph, to be honest.)
I am a person who prefers the simple life. Sure, I wouldn't turn down a brand new Ferrari or Escalade (if I could afford to keep one), or an expansive house full of expensive furniture and kitchen appliance, but I am not like most people in the fact that the type of house or vehicle I would choose, if I could, is one that is not new, or all flashy (because the vehicles now have so many computerized parts, bells and whistles that it takes ONLY a specially-trained mechanic to work on them... meaning you must pay big bucks for the part AND more big bucks for the repair and a modern home is just so "Blah"). Let's just make it easier for you to decide: My choice of vehicles would definitely be either an early 80s car (stock or slightly race-modified) or an older model truck turned into a large-and-in-charge muddin' truck. As far as a house, a nice, older home, medium-sized (maybe 3 bedrooms, 2 baths) with a bit of yard. I'd prefer to have many acres of woods, but I am just hoping. Oh, yeah...that's IF I had my wish come true. I'm not holding my breath, expecting to get these things ANY time soon.