Reply To: The extended family (grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles) is less important now than it was in the past.
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In that agriculture-intensive society, people often lived in a big family to survive, cooperating to solve formidable obstacles. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon for a family to live separately within an extensive boundary. Such a tendency has faded connections between family members, with a consequence that extended family members are less and less important.
In the first place, the physical distance relegates extended family to the remote position. The isolation shoulders the responsibility for descending communications, which lie a foundation for family connection. For one thing, modern transportation tools reform the concept of distance. High-speed trains and modern airplanes expand the horizons from local to international. With these convenient traffic instruments, extended family members can travel in a spacious region, expanding the physical distance between different members. Before the industrial revolution, people lived together with their families to resist surviving threats and accomplish a better future.
But now, empty-nest syndrome is not a rare phenomenon, attesting to the broadening distance within an extended family. Once we fulfill basic living requirements, various modern temptations captivate teenagers and adults alike. They travel to different parts of the world while giving up such a tight rope with their extended family.
Aside from physical distance, ideological difference is also a relevant issue. Extended family members who live in divergent environments can foster divergent ideologies. In other words, it is so formidable that we can hardly identify temperaments and mindsets with extended family members who possess divergent perceptions. For instance, my uncle once worked in Guangzhou, but now he has taken American profession for several years. This has reshaped his mindset and interests, which eliminates our common topics and makes us seem like strangers.