Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley
"We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons". ~Alfred E. Newman
What is functional really?
Is it an umbrella that gives shade from the sun?
or shield you from pouring rain?
and also a fixture in the perfect picture?
then still able to be a playful tool?
all the while capable of being useful as a rest stop upside down?
Is that what functional truly means? Is it like an umbrella that can be versatile and serve many purposes? Or a tool that always performs correctly? In the dictionary it says that functional means of or pertaining to function or functions, capable of operating or functioning, having or serving a utilitarian purpose, capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed.
Now days we hear the term functional and dysfunction a lot pertaining to people, family, and life in general. It is spoken about frequently, but what does it really mean? People that live totally by the rules. A Dad and Mom that never divorce? A family that eats dinner like"The Cleavers" together at one table every night? I think if we really dissect the family unit in every house hold we would find that there is no perfect person and certainly no perfect family.
Functional like a working umbrella, can only take you so far until it needs to be worked on or replaced. Families go through changes, as do people throughout their lives. Tools and machines start out shiny and efficient, but eventually are in need of repair. It is just the way of life. Nothing, and I mean nothing is beyond the wares and tear of time. So why would we expect people or our families to be any different? Maybe it is the old fantasy of wanting the dream life. Key word being "dream", because dreams are not factual nor true reality.
Life is a unique experiment for each of us. No two people are exactly alike. That is part of what makes this life such a fascinating journey. What works for one person does not nearly cut it for another. You know the old saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure", and that is just the way things can be. We live in a world that is ever changing, and so is the family and what we consider normal. That being said, maybe we should simply throw out the term all together. Cast functional aside like an umbrella after the rain, and just learn to embrace the beauty of change, like a colorful rainbow after the storm. After all, life is full of storms no matter what side of the tracks you live on.
What does functional in life and the family mean to you?