Those of you who know me know I’m big on multi generational living. Several years ago Steve and I decided to move people in with us. We had our reasons. The average person needs approximately 4 acres of arable land to survive. The average American consumes over 20! Stewardship. We decided to converge resources. Why does everyone need their own place anyway?
And we wanted to enfold others into a family … a family that consisted of more than mom, dad and 2.5 kids. We wanted a clan. We wanted to have impact and be impacted by people who were younger, older, single, aged, babies etc. I had been studying Colossians and Ephesians and somewhere along the way realized we had sorely been less because we didn’t have kin or honorable kin in our lives. (Paul used the word family more than any other to describe the church. In his day that meant brother, sister, mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins, servants, etc… a clan).
Personally, I have come to believe we are more honest (perhaps holy) people when we have others who can see our lives inside our homes. Just think of how easy it is to hide an affair, abuse, materialism, addictions. What if we had others rolling in and out of our houses? What would that do to our being held accountable? (Let’s be honest, most accountability groups aren’t holding anyone accountable. How many of us have been in a group for years only to find out that a couple divorced or a husband was an alcoholic and the group never knew.)
Now don’t get me wrong moving people in isn’t the only way this can be accomplished, it’s just our way.
Recently two articles caught my attention pertaining to this issue of multi generational living. Take a look…read the quote or the whole article, be sure to ponder it over. Ask what it means for you and yours.
“It is funny, we always mention the fatherlessness, the destruction of the black nuclear family – and that’s a huge issue and a huge factor. But we often forget that the constricting nature of nuclear families and the decreasing cultural emphasis on family – the idea that you buy resources like transportation, support, childcare, etc… may also have been just as destructive. The nuclear family is a tough model for even the most functional family under any kind of stress, it is a disaster for a family that isn’t highly functional.
I never thought of it that way. Our entire economy is built around the concept of the nuclear family, which is thought to be a mobile unit. We would not easily accept a family model that kept one of the parents permanently separated from the rest of the family, but we consider it normal when a nuclear family must be separated from one or both extended families”
Built by Lennar, one of the country’s largest homebuilders, it is the most extreme example of the sort of options, like 400-square-foot “bonus” rooms, that many of the big builders are now offering to accommodate the changing shape of the American family: boomer couples with boomerang children and aging parents, an increasingly multiethnic population with a tradition of housing three generations under one roof, and even singles who may need to double up with siblings or friends in this fraught economic climate.
Lennar started marketing its new designs last fall with particular gusto: “Next Gen — The Home Within a Home” is a title and tag line intended to wrap the notion of multigenerational living in a futuristic gloss. But it is more than just marketing; the blueprints themselves are changing.
In fact, architectural historians, statisticians and builders themselves are pointing out that the new household — and the house that can hold it — is much like the old household, the one that was cast aside after World War II by the building boom that focused on small, tidy dwellings for mom, dad and their two children.
Population statistics help tell the tale. A Pew study reports that 41 percent of adults between 25 and 29 are now living, or have lived recently, with their parents. Over all, more than 50 million Americans are in multigenerational households, a 10 percent increase from 2007. It is a back-to-the-future moment.