Rousseau’s Family Contract

This weekend was an exciting weekend for me as my parents came to Ann Arbor for an impromptu visit. Upon their arrival they surprised me with tickets to the Dolphins vs. Lions game at Ford Field. Being that I am from Miami and the Dolphins are my favorite team this was extremely exciting news.
On our way to the game it crossed my mind that this week in Poly-Sci we discussed social contracts and when we think they are acceptable and when we believe they are not. As my dad lectured my brother and I in the back of the car about school and jobs and what we want to do with our lives, I couldn’t help but think about the unwritten social contract inherently established between parents and their children. When you are born, you sign a contract between you and your parents to obey their wishes. You are rewarded with giftsgift boxes over white background 3d illustration when you uphold the contract with good grades and obedience and you are punished when you break the contract.
As I thought about which theorist’s theory most represents a family, I thought about Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “The Social Contract”. Jean-Jacques_Rousseau_(painted_portrait) Unlike Thomas Hobbes’s idea that everyone is born to screw each other over, Rousseau argues that if people enter into agreements, or “contracts” with each other then society will run smoothly. He states that society should be split into two different subsections: the sovereign and the government. The sovereign consists of the population and their wants and wishes while the government establishes and upholds the laws of the society.
In terms of family, the children act as the sovereign while the parents act as the government. The children must obey the laws established by the parents and in order for the family to run smoothly, the two entities must work together. The social contract a family enters with each other is something that is sacred. It is the most important contract one can enter. Your parents are the people that protect you and look out for you. When you break the social contract with your parents you are ruining your family. The laws established by your parents are in the best interest for the children and children lose sight of that, which is when the family crumbles.
Spending time with my parents this weekend reminded me of the social contract I entered with them 18 years ago. Without knowing it, I agreed to listen to their rules and abide by their laws, and in return we would be a happy family. Family is the one thing that will always be here for you no matter what, and if every family abided by Rousseau’s “Social Contract” then families all over would run much more smoothly.

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