Families as They Really Are

Photo via VelvetTangerine, Flickr CC.
Photo via VelvetTangerine, Flickr CC.

Reprinted from Beggruen Insights, Issue 4, with permission.

Nostalgia often arises out of a real experience of loss. It needs to be addressed and redirected, not ridiculed or denounced. And that applies to the nostalgia that motivates a considerable number of Trump supporters.

I have spent most of my career pointing out the dangers of imagining a Golden Age in the past that we should try to recapture. Nostalgia offers a warped explanation of what actually did work in the past and airbrushes out what did not. It leads to the scapegoating of those who supposedly ruined “the good old days” while providing no tools for coping with the new realities that underlie contemporary challenges.

That said, nostalgia often arises out of a real experience of loss. It needs to be addressed and redirected, not ridiculed or denounced. And that applies to the nostalgia that motivates so many Trump supporters.

This Chair RocksAshton Applewhite is a Council on Contemporary Families expert and has been recognized by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. Her new book, “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism,” was just published in April 2016. She blogs at “This Chair Rocks,” where you can follow her ongoing insights, speaks widely, and is the voice of “Yo, is this ageist?” Ashton’s work is a call to wake up to the ageism in and around us, embrace a more accurate and positive view of growing older, and push back. She agreed to answer a few questions for us:

Q: First, a challenge: what’s one single thing you “know” with certainty, after years of research into modern families?

AA: One of the biggest obstacles to the well-being of modern families is the all-American myth of self-reliance—that people can and should “go it alone”—and we don’t call it out enough. That myth, which equates needing help with physical frailty and weakness of character, serves none of us well—least of all caregivers, people with disabilities, and older people (increasingly overlapping circles on the Venn diagram of life). more...

Greetings from the Council on Contemporary Families, and welcome to our new blog!CCF Logo hi res

We’re delighted to join this community at The Society Pages as we create more online opportunities for scholars and clinicians to share grounded, individual reflections on research, open dialogue for questions and debates, as well as to share ideas for instruction and for clinical practice.

The new CCF blog, Families as They Really Are (like our CCF-edited book of the same name) presents a range of views from researchers who aim to provide the most current and best information about American families. The blog features posts on teaching family topics, as well as op-ed style essays about key issues that arise.

Our blog adds to CCF’s outreach of well-established brief reports, fact sheets, and symposia—the ones people often see covered in the press. For the past 18 years, CCF has taken the lead in sharing carefully vetted research in our brief reports which we send out to news media. Now, we will also post new briefs at The Society Pages.

At CCF, we are united by a passion to give the press, public, and students access to solid research and data-based answers about how and why families today are changing, what needs and challenges they face, and how these needs can best be met.

For more CCF updates between blog posts, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.