18    Nov 20080 comments

Why is my family so important for me?

Family PhotoDo I love my family more than anything else in the world because I am French? Because I am Algerian? ... Or because I am a human being? Having a double nationality, French-Algerian, but being the country manager of MyHeritage for France, these are some questions that I have been thinking about. I will attempt to answer them below, as I am sure there are some of you who occasionally ask yourselves similar questions.

Why do my two brothers and I call my mother once a day at noon? Why do I believe that the family is the most important unit ever? Is it because I am French or because I am Algerian? Is it reasonable to think that there is no link between people's love for their family and their origins?

On the one hand it looks easy to say that everybody loves their family and that this is the same in all cultures. On the other hand,...

it is said that the family is more important for Mediterranean people... at least as compared to Northern Europeans.

In North Africa, relatives usually live together. The larger the family gets, the bigger the house becomes. Indeed generally, as soon as you plan to marry, you start building a new floor in the house you grew up in. Whereas in France, as soon as you are in your twenties, the most important thing for you is to move out, find a job, no matter if the latter is far from your family.

In North Africa there is no pension service and no retirement homes (in France there are about 10 000). In North-Africa, it would be considered an injury to let your parents live in a home. As a result, children are used to taking care of their parents when they get older.

Those two examples indicate that links between relatives seem stronger in North Africa. But if we look more closely, we understand that it results from the fact that people depend more on their family in North Africa. This is mainly an economic dependence, as it is more economic for family members to live in the same house, in the same town. Also, because there is no pension service and no tradition to put older people in homes, the older generation depends on their family members to take care of them.

So here is the answer: I love my family not because I am French, and not because I am Algerian but just because I do... like you.

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