A World Without Aunts and Uncles? Unthinkable!

One of our great new GoNOMAD writers, Moumita Deb, wrote about how often Chinese people told her how lucky she was to have a girl and a boy. I think, really, they were saying how lucky she was to have more than one child.

If the one-couple / one-child rule is enforced over several generations, do you know what that means? No brothers and sisters, therefore no uncles and aunts, and, therefore, no cousins! To me, that’s a very barren landscape.

According to my favorite mystery writer, Tony Hillerman, it is Navaho uncles and aunts who provide what we might call primary parenting to their nieces and nephews.

Now, I am not now, nor have I ever been, in a position to offer advice to the Chinese people. I’m sure they are doing what you or I might think of: that is, adopting unrelated nieces and nephews.

Kids need people in that position: people who knew their parents when they were just as young and vulnerable as they now find themselves. Adults who actually act as friends and take their side and temper the absolutes of parental judgment.

I just had a wonderful visit with the most wonderful aunt and uncle anyone ever heard of, my Uncle Nat and Aunt Valerie, and I thought of all their kids, my cousins, who are so dear to me, generally speaking, and I give thanks and wonder what life would be like without aunts and uncles and cousins.