Basic human needs Basic human needs such as physiological needs, safety, love and belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization are central to concepts developed, applied, and assessed in the family and consumer sciences body of knowledge. A broader definition of basic human needs includes: (1) “material well-being, including sufficient food, assets, and work; (2) bodily well-being and wellness in health, appearance, and physical environment; (3) social well-being, including the ability to care for and raise children; self-respect, dignity, peace, harmony, and good relations with family and community; (4) security, including civil peace, physically and psychologically safe and secure environments, lawfulness, and access to justice, security in old age, and confidence in the future; (5) freedom of choice and action; and (6) psychological well-being, including peace of mind, happiness, spiritual life, and religious observance.” (Narayan et al., 2000; cited on pp.25-28 of Nickols et al.) Individual well-being Meeting basic human needs is critical to the achievement of individual well-being. Physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy individuals are essential for sustaining humanity. Self-aware, motivated, and empowered individuals adapt, modify, manage, and interact with their social, cultural, technological, and natural environments to enable themselves and others to make meaningful contributions throughout their life spans. Family strengths Understanding, nurturing, and supporting strong, diverse, resilient families requires comprehension of complex relationships and human development across the life course. The concept of family strengths is interrelated with and dependent upon how well basic needs are met and focuses on understanding families and preserving this fundamental social unit of society. Family strengths include resilient characteristics of families regardless of family structure, interactions with each other and with others outside the family Unit, and applications of strategies to cope with the events of everyday life. Individuals and families engage their strengths to synergistically help families endure. Over time, many families develop protective and recovery factors that enable them to deal with stressors and transitions throughout the course of family life. Family strengths may include: (1) Family problem-solving communication (6) Hope (2) Equality (7) Family hardiness (3) Spirituality (8) Family time and routines (4) Flexibility (9) Social support (5) Truthfulness (10) Health Community vitality Community vitality measures how well basic human needs are met and focuses on providing an environment conducive to individual and family well-being. Healthy communities have common interests and connections through ownership and/or participation in meeting basic human needs and caring for and about one another. Usually, actions are structured so that they contribute to the common good, and a shared moral/ethical culture is transmitted from generation to generation. Communities foster a sense of well-being of individuals and families and often turn groups of people into social clusters that resemble extended families. INTEGRATIVE ELEMENTS Life course development Life course development provides a unique perspective for the ecosystems theory (ecological framework) as the professional focuses on the well-being of individuals and families and the communities in which they live. This life course perspective centers around assertions that: (1) People develop biologically and socially across their lives in ways that influence and change their interactions with each other and with social institutions. In addition, development as an individual, within a family, and as a participant in the community affects a person’s perspective. (2) Social institutions such as families, schools, or community groups, create “transition points” for individuals as they grow and develop. (3) Individual social development differs across historical times because of the way social institutions change; collective human needs create demands for social institutions to change across time. (4) An important concept in understanding life course development includes continuity of developmental stages of individuals and families, timing of family related events, and developmental history, including periods of both change and stability. Human ecosystem The body of knowledge ties individuals, families, and communities together through the family ecosystem theoretical model. Ecosystems within which families function include: families, (b) the physical environment of space and the natural environment, (c) the human-built environment of housing, constructed facilities and equipment, and the application of technology to materials from the natural environment, and (d) the social regulatory environment comprised of the non-material culture, religion, and educational, political, legal/judicial, economic, and social systems. This model provides a comprehensive, or holistic, understanding of relationships among individuals, families, and communities and their physical, human-built, and social/behavioral environment. The basic elements of the family ecosystem are: family members, their external environments—as they perceive and interact with them—and the web of human transactions carried out through the family organization. A fundamental characteristic of the family ecosystem is that it is made up of a collection of interdependent and independent parts working together to achieve a common purpose. Families are affected by factors in both their micro- and macro-environments. The micro-environment of a family consists of a series of interactions involving their closest physical, psychological, and social relationships and contexts within their near environment. The macro-environment includes broader and more distant components of the far environment such as the economic, technological, and sociocultural environments. CROSS-CUTTING THEMES The body of knowledge addresses five cross-cutting themes: capacity building, global interdependence, resource development and sustainability, appropriate use of technology, and wellness. Capacity building Capacity building means individuals, families, and communities acquiring knowledge, and skills, building on assets and strengths, respecting diversity, and responding effectively to change. The ability of humans to understand and solve complex problems, to preserve the knowledge of indigenous cultures in the context of rapid globalization, to appropriately use technology, and to strive for balance between change and continuity are some of the competencies needed in the modern world. Institutional capacity depends on the competencies of individuals and families and their commitment to building sustainable communities. Global interdependence Global interdependence means the impact of people—individually and collectively—on the world, and the effect of their actions on others. It encompasses interdependence in global production and consumption. Tangible connections with neighbors around the world are possible through migration, advanced communications, and travel technology. Decisions in one country directly affect what happens in all of the other countries of the world. Resource development and sustainabilityResource development and sustainability involves managing resources wisely, protecting the environment, promoting sustainable practices, and creating public policy from generation to generation. Appropriate use of technology The appropriate use of technology involves understanding how advances in science and technology are shaped, manipulated, and used to affect the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. Addressing scientific efforts in areas such as genetics and enhancement of human performance with knowledge of the benefits of these efforts must be balanced with a thorough understanding of the ethical principles and moral issues involved and an awareness of the social, economic, and contextual implications. Wellness Wellness addresses health and well-being. It includes food security; adequate nutrition; reduced risk of chronic and communicable disease; access to forms of exercise; respectful, caring, and compassionate learning environments; healthcare availability, access, costs, and quality; psychological health; protection from abuse, exploitation, and violence; access to safe water and air and adequate sanitation facilities; control of healthcare costs so quality care is available; and spirituality.