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Additional info for Toward More Family-Centered Family Sciences: Love, Sacrifice, and Transcendence
There are negative as well as positive grants, and malevolent as well as benevolent motives for giving. Much of the negative press about sacrifice involves alleged pathologies of sacrifice: sacrifice that is inappropriate, meaningless, or harmful. We acknowledge such pathologies, but doubt that their existence justifies the neglect of sacrifice as an essential social process, a basis of meaning in life, and a powerful source of human bonding and community solidarity. One might expect that so powerful a social bonding agent as sacrifice would have received much attention from family professionals.
One can choose . . to die with them. J. Kosciuszkowa, who survived her internment at Auschwitz, tells of a mother who gave birth there and managed to hide her baby for five months; when the child was discovered and taken from her, she chose to go with him. ” (71)  Then there is the young man who grew too weak to work and whose father lay down beside him so that they might await death together. (71)  [Marek] Edelman tells . . of a niece of . . one of his colleagues, who, immediately after her wedding ceremony, found the barrel of a soldier’s rifle shoved up against her belly.
It is hard to disagree with the position that everyone has some responsibility to care for others, or that self-sacrifice as practice or norm not be limited to only select social positions or categories. In family contexts, self-sacrifice is properly a family characteristic, a trait appropriate to all family members old enough to give of themselves, however modestly. In wider contexts, there is a place for social policies that aim to alleviate burdens faced by parents in caring for their children, or by families in caring for aging or disadvantaged family members.