It is interesting that the Greek word for ‘Family love’ is Storge (στοργή) and also means putting up with situations such as loving a tyrant. Family love is something which is unconditional. When we with-hold family love, it can have devastating consequences. Rejection and bad communication is something which seriously damages both family relationships and individuals alike. It is very hard to repair this damage. We have been conditioned to believe that the family is a safe place. Especially in the 1950’s, the family was seen in a stereotypically ‘perfect’ unit, consisting of a married male worker and female carer, who are the birth parents of the children within their home. Anyone who was in a family arrangement which did not fit the stereotype, was made to feel like there was something wrong with them. Real families now, rarely fit this perfect ideal. Now we have single mothers, single fathers, gay parents, step parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, surrogate parents, some people who are part of a family, but choose not to have children at all and some of these single people who choose to have a family of friends. It does not matter what set up a family is in, what matters is that we are all able to experience some sort of family love, which is unconditional. It is difficult living with family members because we experience the worst of people, when we are physically close. When at home we become our true selves. If this is stifled in any way, this can cause serious conflict in the home. This is why unconditional family love is so important. It means being there for our family members, even when we disagree with their behaviour or decisions. (Note: this does not mean that a family member has to accept severe threatening or abusive behaviour of another family member, as this is not unconditional love and it is therefore best to leave, in order to protect ourselves, if we are unable to resolve these types of issues within families). Family love involves compromising and putting the needs of others before our own, especially the needs of more vulnerable members, such as children, the sick and the elderly. There has been a lot of talk recently about fatherless children and the effect, that having absent parents, has on the self esteem and the development of children. This is particularly a concern to those who are working to combat gang culture around the world. Many people who have experienced problems because of absent parents, have looked for other ways in which to gain self respect and acceptance by others who have shared these experiences. For some people gangs give them the acceptance and protection which they are lacking. We often hear of men abandoning their children, but we rarely hear about men who do a great job of looking after children. My painting shows a man being a good father. The man is teaching his child about the world, nurturing his child in a way that will benefit the child in the future. He is lovingly holding the child and spending quality time with his child. We must remember and respect those members of our families who have inspired us, nurtured us, fought against injustice for us and helped us, for it is those people who truly deserve the title of ‘family’, not those who have abandoned us.