Monday, 21 February 2011

family health model


below is something I wrote up for the social policy development discourse in Nunavut. I used to work as a policy analyst for Inuit Org.s and spent (still spend) a great deal of time thinking about an article in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement called Article 32. The family health model is intended to reorient the intellectual attitude of policy people rather than to provide a theoretical framework.

A Family Health Model

  1. Family is the primary life-support system of its members.
  2. The family belongs to a larger network called the Community.
  3. The family is a vehicle for transmitting social values, language, knowledge and beliefs about what life is.
  4. The family is the fundamental economic unit.

1 Family is the primary life-support system of its members
The transition from traditional to contemporary Inuit society has to address the redefining of the roles in the family (the roles and responsibilities of parents). We, as Inuit and Nunavut society in general, need to re-examine and initiate discussion on what healthy families actually comprise of (single parent homes, two parent homes) in a way as to not get caught up in ideological and religious prejudices but to focus our efforts in supporting development of solid parenting capabilities and try and address the gaps in parenting skills. Home economics doesn’t seem to exist anymore so the concepts of home-cooked meals and budgeting are practically non-existent in most Inuit homes.

2 The family belongs to a larger network called the Community
The Community isn’t just about a specific location in geographical space in relation to somewhere else. It’s about society and individuals in general and how these different levels of Community view and value human rights and social justice. The social development discourse (in Canada) has been heavily skewed towards administering to individuals rather than supporting families and Community.

3 The family is a vehicle for transmitting social values, language, knowledge and beliefs about what life is
When children are left without mature guidance life becomes effectively worthless and violence to self and others becomes normalized. The school system was not set up or designed to address moral guidance or ethical behaviour being as it arrogates itself as “secular” but in this vacuum Inuit children are raising themselves. The high suicide rates for Inuit youth is an indication that their society is brutal, cruel and unsustainable (unconscionable). The Lord of the Flies comes to mind.

4 The family is the fundamental economic unit
IQ is built around this notion. The bedrock of society is not the individual but the family for it creates the individual and allows the individual to actualize his/her potential. Inuit employment becomes all that more important because family health and the generation of human capital are linked; this is what a sustainable economy really is.

1 comment:

  1. Hoping that my english will be understandable, I praise these insightful thoughts about family which is unfortunately too often taken for granted, while it is the sum of all pieces revolving around it as well as their source. Maslow should have had installed the family at the basis of his pyramid so powerful it is. All the fields, all our realities there described find their strenght to move forward within the family. The one we are from, the one we create, the one we choose as our environment (our other significant becomes our family). Our self-esteem is fulfilled through family that we trust to validate/invalidate our actions, thus muting our needs into accomplishments, allowing us to grow in the hierarchy from the smallest to the strongest step.

    Through family we found our physiological, emotional and safe balance: our belongingness. We need someone, someone needs us. We are.

    Danielle Lepage