Family just isn’t what it used to be.
Slate writer Will Saletan shared a portion of a test his son took where the definition of the word “family” was so “inclusive” it could mean almost anything.
Saletan’s son lost five points on the health test because, when asked to identify the definition of the word “family” from a multiple choice list, he (logically) assumed the test was referring to related individuals who live together.
How small-minded, right?
My son was marked down 5 percent on a high school health test because he chose this “incorrect” definition of family. pic.twitter.com/TnisIK51Mm
— Will Saletan (@saletan) July 8, 2015
The question seemed straightforward:
Family is: Select one:
A) Should be two parents, children and perhaps some extended members living together.
B) Should have two working adults to provide food and shelter to its members.
C) A collection of related-by-blood individuals living together.
D) Should provide the wants and needs of its younger members.
E) A collection of individuals who care for and about each other.
It’s easy to see how someone could get this incorrect. According to the lesson plan, “two parents, children, and perhaps some extended members living together” doesn’t meet the criteria for a family.
Nor is “two working adults” providing for other members.
And apparently a “collection of related-by-blood individuals” is too narrow of criteria to be considered accurate.
Instead, “a collection of individuals who care for and about each other” is the appropriate answer. And if it sounds like that’s roughly the definition of a commune, that’s because it is pretty close.
com·mune – kämyo͞on/ noun:
1) A group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities.
Social media users were almost as astounded as Saletan that the word “family” was defined broadly enough to include virtually any group of mutually “loving” people.
As one Twitter user noted, it turns out that the Manson Family really was an actual family, according to the test. (Probably a little patriarchal for current liberals, though.)
@saletan @justkarl Well, you have to make sure the definition includes the Manson Family.
— Mark (@analogkid2112) July 8, 2015
@saletan “a collection of individuals who care for and about each other” clearly a reference to polygamy.
— JR (@everlong554) July 8, 2015
@saletan Looks like he needs to study up on what Family is. pic.twitter.com/FKeCrCRyf9
— Daniel Walters (@danielwinlander) July 8, 2015
@topynate @saletan Many families don’t like each other; calling all friendly acquaintances “family” is dumb: a blood-based def makes sense. — Lurker (@red_boxer0) July 8, 2015
@saletan @NYDNHammond My college roommates were my family as were co-workers?
— #VoteGardy (@HshtagVoteGardy) July 8, 2015
@saletan My mouth hangs open… @DJM1968
— Louise Allain (@louiseallain) July 8, 2015
@saletan Everyone knows a family is an organization in NYC that engages in crime and whose members are all subservient to the same Don.
— Angry Husky (@Angry_Husky) July 8, 2015
@saletan @louiseallain those are friends
— goldenrail (@Ivoryblossum) July 8, 2015
@saletan You should speak to the teacher and principal. Bring a dictionary with you.
— Greg Palmer (@palmercomm) July 9, 2015
@saletan @pegobry poorly worded question. (e) could just as easily be the definition of “my buddies in high school”
— Antonis Polemitis (@polemitis) July 8, 2015
@charlesmurray Let’s just say that in this case, we got what we paid for. Unless you count the property taxes … — Will Saletan (@saletan) July 8, 2015
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