Here's an outline for a paragraph examining the topic of what a "good" family is. Note how complete
sentences are used, and how these sentences are appropriately grouped in the the stages of
I. Topic Point:
Although many people would probably not consider a house full of college roommates to be a
family, my house is, without a doubt, a solid family unique in how selfless everyone in it is.
My family stands apart from even the family in which I was raised, because it engenders
loyalty, unconditional understanding, and support when crises occur.
II. Explanation: Different families have different values, including cultural ones, but these are values
that my family of roommates choose to respect out of their own free will.
Loyalty is a bond of trust in which people dedicate themselves to one another's safety
and promote and support one another's interests
Patience is a virtue that helps a family of individuals with difference in background and
experience to tolerate one another.
Tolerance leads to understanding, that ability to empathize that is indispensable for
any group of people to be supportive the way a family should be.
Support is perhaps the single most important value that any family, whether blood
relatives or relative strangers, needs in order to hold together.
III. Paragraph Support:
The kind of loyalty that typifies a family seems harder and harder to find these days, but my
roommates and I certainly have it.
Every Wednesday night, we have a “family night” we spend together making pizza and
watching a movie that we take turns choosing.
We all clear our schedules, and even try to keep our work and class schedules free on
Wednesday nights so that we can spend this time together.
Boyfriends (and girlfriends) are not invited, but no one ever complains because we
treasure that time to rediscover why we are so close.
We are also more understanding of each other than almost any other family I know.
I have witnessed my aunt’s family, for example, disintegrate when my cousin was
arrested on drug charges because no one would reach out to him and find out why
he was doing crystal meth.
However, in my house, everyone takes an active interest to find out what is troubling
someone. It does not matter what that trouble is.
When my roommate, Marie, started crying one day and told us she was a lesbian,
instead of feeling threatened we all felt honored that she could trust us, and we
threw her a spontaneous “Coming Out” party.
Several of us went with her to her first gay bar, which, I believe, epitomizes the
kind of unconditional support that makes groups like us a tight-knit family.
Of course, all families have to stand tests, and when real crises manifest, a family’s true
character (or lack of character) shows itself. Once again, my roommates and I demonstrate
how banding together in mutual support is one of the most important family characteristics.
When Angie’s mother had a car accident and was in the hospital, we all made sure
that Angie could get onto the plane that afternoon and go back to New Jersey to be
with her mother.
Angie did not have much money, but the other four of us chipped in from our savings
and credit cards to make sure she got home that night, and Ellie even offered to go
home with her if she needed it.
Those sorts of gestures denote a real, family-like willingness to be supportive during
difficult times, and not just good times, when it is easiest to show support.
All these qualities, in fact, demonstrate how the members of my family of roommates put
others before themselves.
This does not mean that we are not sometimes selfish, because human nature
means everyone is occasionally.
However, we have enough maturity as individuals, and love for one another, to put
the needs of others first.
I realize that, one day, most of my family will move on, just like blood-related families do,
but I am confident that our family ties will long outlast the time we will have spent together
living under one roof.
No matter what lies ahead for us, we will always think of ourselves as a genuine family.