2. Influencing Factors
The kind of lifestyle pursued by a family living within a ‘particular society depends largely on customary societal practices—the cultural mores of the society itself. They seem to be absorbed, transmitted, rubbed-off from individual to individual living within the larger grouping. Few persons resist aping the herd influence, most follow willingly the traditions and customs of the people with whom they live.
Probably the most important influencing factors within the social grouping are the existing ratio between males and females, with the perfect ratio being largely undetermined; the economic realities of earning a living and maintaining the family; providing food, shelter, education, spiritual training and clothing; and, finally, the customs that prevail; that is, that are accepted without reproach and/or condemnation. These last, of course, largely determine the dating, courtship, marriage, frequency of child-bearing, and relationships among and between sexes outside of the marital context and between different generations.
2.1 Within the Family
Within the family there is generally adherence to a common mold, the mold itself having been established by the training and backgrounds of the husband and wife. When the backgrounds of the mating partners are fairly similar, the family meld is usually more successful than when parties of two widely diverse backgrounds are joined to form a family unit; but not always.
Sometimes one partner or the other extends himself beyond the youth horizons and enlarges in a new direction or in several directions and enters a new dimension of living, leaving the sexual partner behind. A schism is thus created.
The schism can be either intellectual, emotional (spiritual) or physical; and perhaps even in all dimensions at one and the same time. The schism can develop suddenly, as when the full realization of the correctness of Hygienic living dawns on a single member of the family; or it can be an emerging consciousness which takes years to consolidate.
Regardless of the nature of the new thrust, it can become an important factor in continuing family unity. It is a reality which must be intelligently addressed so that some acceptable solution can be found.
Differences in the levels of intelligence between parents frequently prevents family progress in knowledge of Hygienic principles by all members of the family. Differences in backgrounds can have profound effects on acceptance of new ideas, those that are different from those generally practiced within the community at large. A successful melding of concepts and beliefs will produce a happy family, an unsuccessful acceptance and follow-through will lead to family conflict and failures.
To illustrate how relationships within family units of different cultural backgrounds may differ, we can briefly examine two families related by marriage between the oldest son of one and the daughter of another; and the children of this union.
2.1.1 Elizabeth’s Family
The father was born in Wales. He was the grandson of a minister, one high up in the hierarchy of British religious circles. His family reflected the closeness, the joy, the love of art and music so characteristic of the Welsh people.
The mother in this new family was the daughter of an English merchant. Her brothers returned to England to public school (the equivalent of our private “prep” schools). She was brought up at home to be a “proper British gentlewoman.” She was reserved in manner, precise in dress and always the curious intellectual.
The children of this union were thus exposed to two cultures: one extremely closely knit and fun-loving; the other more formal and stylized, geared to the “correct” societal behavior common earlier in this century in the country of birth.
It is interesting to note that every Sunday was the time set aside for all the siblings of the father’s generation (and there were twelve), their wives and/or husbands, and their children (of which there were many) to gather at the Welsh grandparents’ home together with most of the expatriated Welsh community. Fun, food, and frolic were the order of the day. Music and singing filled the air. Love end caring togetherness were visibly demonstrated.
The very formal English mother was a wise woman. While this type of “goings-on” was entirely foreign to her, she recognized it for what it was: wholesome. She therefore not only permitted her own family to become a part of this new way of life but she herself participated as a member of the family. Therefore, she was accepted and loved by the family.
The various members of the English family were separated by land and sea. However, they all kept in communication regularly with one another via the mails. Once a year aunts, uncles and cousins gathered at grandma’s home. There were excursions into the countryside to pick berries, there was swimming in the river, there were family dinners and Sunday afternoon meetings. However, most of the time was spent in listening to music as the old gramophone played and in reading books chosen by the elders; books by Dickens, Thackeray, and poems by the great English poets: the traditional British “quiet time.”
Meetings between aunts, uncles and children were formal for the most part. There were polite inquiries as to the health of each, as to plans for the children’s future, and so on. The togetherness of the Welsh family was highly visible while, in the English family, at least on the surface, it was nonexistent. In reality, it was extremely close as subsequent events, which we will not go into here, revealed.
It would be interesting, would it not, to speculate on how this marriage and the children turned out? Well, we can because Dr. Elizabeth was one of those children.
Three children of this union lived to adulthood. All were scientifically inclined. All received scholarships to various universities. Two were musically talented and were provided with excellent teachers so long as they manifested a desire to learn. One became an electrical engineer, another a chemical engineer with the latter child receiving international recognition in his particular Field of expertise after a lifetime of service in the field of education; and then there was Elizabeth.
The marriage remained intact even though the backgrounds were so dissimilar. In other words, the common pattern did not hold with this couple. In fact, all the marriages within both families, Welsh and English, remained intact and all generations remained in contact with older generations influencing the younger, passing on the security of family togetherness, traditional values and a wide diversity of experiences.
Elizabeth says that the reason was obvious and especially so in her immediate family: one member of the family was the motivating head, the recognized guide of the future welfare of the family, that person being the very strict, very proper, British gentlewoman. It was she who set the goals and laid out the rules. She had the vision, a vision of accomplishment and service and so it was she who, with firmness and discipline tempered with love, saw to it that the family went forward. While this was not a Hygienic family, nevertheless it can provide us with a role model to follow.
2.1.2 Jane and Bill’s Family
Jane and Bill, on the other hand, provide us with an entirely different situation. They began their family some twenty years ago. Their backgrounds were quite similar. Their parents were both hard-working, relatively uneducated and very religious people. Neither Jane nor Bill ever completed high school. In fact, Jane did not finish elementary school. Bill worked regularly on the railroad, brought home his paycheck every week and went fishing and drinking on weekends. He was a rough-and-tumble kind of fellow, very physical and crude in many ways.
Jane was to be pitied. Her family background was rather sad: a mother who proclaimed her deep religious convictions but neglected her children; a father who abused the children and drank himself to death. Her marriage was unhappy, too, but nevertheless Jane remained with Bill and gave birth to two children. Perhaps because of her background, she wanted so much for her children that she became a “nagger.”
After some 18 years of marriage, she found her children grown, almost ready to leave the nest, so Jane began to reach out. She began taking classes here and there, classes on many subjects. One evening she attended a lecture on Natural Hygiene. What she heard made sense to her and, knowing that she was very sick, she sought professional counseling from us.
Jane had been on drugs throughout her entire married life. She had spent some time every winter in the hospital. Natural Hygiene offered her hope. She fasted at a Hygienic retreat on three occasions and it was not long before she began to experience the rewards of correct living and eating.
Her physical condition improved but, something else happened also: her life, her interests, her standards began to change, leading her into foreign territory, to new knowledge and experiences. At Hygienic parties and meetings, she met people who lived in a world very different from her own. This new world intrigued her. She desired to become a part of this new world and, what is more, she wanted her family to know it, too.
However, Jane lacked tact. She was too abrupt. She wanted all members of her family to cross all the bridges together and at one and the same time—in a single leap, as it were. She was demanding and impatient. As a consequence, both children left the family nest to seek their own ways. Her husband became not only physically abusive but mentally as well, threatening divorce or separation as arguments became more and more frequent. What had once been a passable home became a house in which two people lived in loneliness without their children, a house filled with misery and despair.
Was the husband correct in his assessment that his wife’s new interest, Natural Hygiene, was the work of the devil? Or was Jane, in her enthusiasm, at fault? Do we, who embrace the principles of Natural Hygiene, have to become more aware of our proper role as we attempt not only to impart the message of Natural Hygiene to society at large but also as we deal with families newly introduced to its precepts? We think we do, if we are to serve our clients well. We cannot just hit the high spots and become menu programmers. We have to penetrate the hidden corners of doubts and conflicts as they may arise from time to time in the family of which the individual client is a part.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Influencing Factors
- 3. The Modern Family
- 4. The Newly Married
- 5. The Infant And The Family
- 6. Adults Within The Family
- Article #1: Feeding Diapers By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Introducing Grandchildren To Hygienic Living
- Article #3: How We Can Stimulate Our Children’s Physical Development By Chuck and Mimi Young
- Article #4: Avoiding Compulsory Immunization By Dr. Christopher Kent