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Family is the Future and the Hope

Posted December. 21, 2005 03:00,   


People are increasingly considering that their family is at the heart of their lives.

As a new trend opposing to that of family disintegration sweeping the country starting from the mid-to-late 20th century, a voice which says, “Family is the most important value” has begun to flow just like a low but irreversible river.

The growing trend of valuing the family and enhanced intimacy were clearly shown in a survey that Korea Research Center conducted on 1,000 subscribers of Dong-A Ilbo living in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and metropolitan cities on the commission of the newspaper.

Asked if they often talk about their concerns with their family, about 70 percent of respondents answered “yes.” The figure is 14 percent higher than the 56 percent in another survey that the former Government Information Agency conducted on 1,500 men and women around the country in 1996.

To the question, “What do you think is the most important in your life?” the second largest group of respondents (32.5 percent) answered “happy family,” following the 51.0 percent of those polled who said “health.” Just 8.6 percent said “economic affluence.” By contrast, in the 1996 survey, only 26.3 percent answered “happy family.”

Also, 76.7 percent of those polled said, “Family is more important than my own success,” while 91.8 percent responded, “It is possible to sacrifice myself for family.” Only 4.1 percent agreed that “I can be happy without a family.”

Korea is not alone in seeing the trend of valuing the family. The “Turn off the TV Week” campaign conducted for a week in April in the U.S. based on the idea, “There is nothing more valuable than conversation between family members,” attracted participation of some 10 countries, including Brazil, the U.K, Australia, Japan, Canada, Taiwan, Italy, and Mexico, as well as 7.6 million people in the U.S.

The main concepts of movies, literature, and advertisement were “family disintegration” or “individualism” a few years ago, but many of the products are dealing with the “value of family” or “restoration of family.”

Experts interpret that this trend is based on the reaction to the crisis of family disintegration, including soaring divorce rates and the spreading perception that family, rather than material satisfaction or grand ideology and cause, is the core of people’s happiness.

Hyun Taek-soo, sociology professor of Korea University, said, “As the individuals who felt a sense of loss amid the phenomenon of family integration began to feel nostalgia for this, the family is being restored,” predicting, “Family is the most basic unit of community throughout history and will function as a core value in the 21st century as well.”