on the period in the lifecycle when families have children and incur heavy costs, that is, when family work is more demanding than during any other period of life. Such gender studies overlook the fact that people have age- and/or stage-specific understandings of family. For someone who is old enough to maintain a position amongst five generations, the oldest living in one's memories and youngest being a part of one's present life, family means having a dramatic view over a constantly changing social landscape.
Not only age, but also encounters with family patterns in other cultures influence our views of family. Seeing oneself through the eyes of the other is a challenge. The eyes of the other uncover weak spots in ourselves and expose us to alternative ways of seeing. They make us grow or shrink. The eyes of the other scrutinize and question us. We may mistrust their way of seeing us. Our cultures shed differently coloured light upon our respective national scenes and make them look different to us and to the other. The double view is thought provoking, and reminds us of the importance of historical, cultural, and contextual specificity. Looking at the family both from inside and outside one's own society makes one know much more, but also much less, as we recognize that there is so much more to know.