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David Brooks: "The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake"

It's been interesting to me to watch over the years how David Brooks has been recreating himself, morphing from a political writer to one almost exclusively focused on how we live and what makes for a "good" life. This article in the Atlantic explores the changes in family structure in America over the years, from a "corporate household", where extended family as well as farmhands, apprentices, etc. all lived and worked under one roof, pre-industrialization, to the nuclear family of the '50s, to the current more diverse model of most young adults living without a significant other, but with a trend of increased multi-generational households.

The more interesting part from a cohousing standpoint comes in Part 2 on Redefining Kinship. I was particularly struck by the observation that while white settlers who were kidnapped by the indigenous Native American tribes almost never seemed to want to go back to white society, those Native Americans who were forced into the white world almost invariably wanted to return to their tribe. This is an oversimplification, I'm sure, and not invariably true, but it may well speak to the fact that Native American tribes had much stronger kinship and community relationships. And that was when European-based family and community ties were arguably much stronger than they are now!

So I sit here in my home, self-isolating with my husband and my adult son, here temporarily while working from home, glad for their presence and support, but also ready to move forward and start a new chapter in my life through cohousing. It gives us all in CGB something to look forward to in these difficult times.

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