Rafer+Kelly What is family?  We often think of family members of those who are related to by blood (siblings, parents, etc.) and those who have married into that family.

As the shackles of tradition, religion (not spirituality but deliberately organized religion) and the long list of shoulds’ start to fall away, there is a birth of Next Generation Families (NGF) being created and thriving. These are made up not only of spouses, children and other biological additions but of friends who are now a part of modern family structures.

These are friends we integrate into our biological family structures or who form an entirely new family structure in some cases replacing the old biological links.  It is not unusual to see a birthday dinner for a mother, attended by various members of the Next Gen family of adopted sons, daughters, nieces and nephews who are closer than many who share the same bloodline.

I applaud these new NGFs as they ‘chosen’ individuals we invite into our lives and are here to support our lives. This, over being a legacy or obligation to people who we often don’t even like or would otherwise share the same breathing air with.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still value of love, memories and other shared experiences (some good and some bad) that bind us to our biological families, but now we are starting to create generations of the NGFs with similar features – the difference; our choice, our responsibility vs. the obligation.

NGFs allow many of us to ensure our worlds are supportive and loving and shows us that we don’t have to accept someone’s energy into our space because they are ‘relatives’ – now they have to earn that space right alongside our newly chosen loved ones.


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