Last weekend my wife and spent 3 days with a group of about 60 others being part of a “family camp”. My role was to be the “speaker” and I was charged with bringing 6 talks on the theme of “change”. But beyond the talks, I really thought it would be good to reflect on “family” as I saw it happening there.

In spite of what you see above, there were a lot of variations on the traditional family.  There was the woman with her two young children.  Recently her marriage blew up leaving her alone with the kids.  Friends had suggested to her that she needed to do something with her kids.  This venue was the place for “something”.   Hers was a family.

There was another couple there who appeared to be in their forties–with no children atttached.  I enquired about their kids and they both had them–from previous marriages.  They were together about 6 years now and having kids in this marriage wasn’t on their radar.  Theirs was a family.

Then there was a gramma and granpa who when I enquired about their offspring  beamed– telling me that their children, grand children, and now great grandchildren numbered 32.

And there were oodles of couples with young kids even teenagers.  The teenagers didn’t look like this was their first choice for a summer weekend.  But the youngsters squealed around the campgrounds playing soccer, basketball, swimming, finding frogs, swatting mosquitoes…and loving it.

I guess I’ve written all this to say that “family” is a pretty adaptable image in this day and age.  I think you need a parent (one at least) and you need a child (at least) but how many parents, and how many kids is up for debate.   Family is a word that describes a relationship between people…be it biological, or historical…or even simply emotional and relational.

So, how about you?  When I say “family” what does it look like for you?