We occasionally run a feature in the T-G called "People Around Town," in which we profile someone by letting them answer a series of questions.
One of the questions has to do with "favorite possession," and the answer to this is almost always "my family," which I can never understand. The intent of the question was to get the person to talk about their old baseball card, or that comfy old sweater, or their grandmother's special ring, or what have you. To me, family isn't a "possession."
Then, tonight, I saw a car dealership commercial on TV where the announcer touted the car as being the safest for "your most prized possession ... your family."
I wondered if it was just me. I looked up "possession" on the Merriam-Webster web site:
1 a: the act of having or taking into control b: control or occupancy of property without regard to ownership c: ownership d: control of the ball or puck; also : an instance of having such control (as in football) scored on their first two possessions
2: something owned, occupied, or controlled : property
3 a: domination by something (as an evil spirit, a passion, or an idea) b: a psychological state in which an individual's normal personality is replaced by another c: self-possession
After reading this, I think I'm right. I know that people mean well when they call their family a "possession," but most of the actual, literal meanings have to do with ownership or control -- and I would say that very few of us are in control of our families!