Monday, July 8, 2013

Life Chapters – Family

The Word Family

When you hear the word family what comes to mind?  Does the word make you feel good, happy, sad, anxious, calm, etc.?  The word family can mean many things depending on your culture, your upbringing and your personal experiences.  Family consists of the people who claim you whether good or bad, they are the ones who show up regardless.

I consider family to be my sir name, the family my wife and I created, my siblings, parents, grandparents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, and lifelong and very close friends.  Each of them contributes to my life and I to theirs.  Sociology defines family as having the primary responsibility of reproducing society both biologically and socially. 

Family is Important

My family is important to me.  Every family gathering we have is an opportunity for the children and younger family members to learn from the family elders.  Family gatherings are also opportunities for family elders to learn from the younger family members.

If families are who you love then it should be clear why families are so important.  Each family is different but that difference is what makes the entire family group so unique.  When families break down many suffer the consequences – from the individual to the family to our communities and in the end society as a whole.

My family is very diverse consisting of family members who are white, Hispanic, black, gay, lesbian and everything in between.  What is important to know about my family is regardless of our differences there is much more that is the same than different.  Regardless of our race, religious beliefs, sexual preference and everything in between we all want to be included, we all want to be loved, we all want to be heard and we all want to know there are people who care about our feelings and well-being.

It takes Hard Work

Being a family is hard work.  It takes love, understanding, devotion, cooperation and respect.  Without these five things families will cease to exist.  The family is the safe haven where family members receive the love and respect needed when it feels as though the entire world has rejected him or her.

Family is the bond connecting us to a life long journey through life.  That bond creates the safe harbor we all need to feel safe and that we belong.  For me, my family is the key to my heart.  My family is not shown in the bloodlines of a family tree but rather by the size of their heart.

I leave you with these two quotes that help define what family means to me.

“What can you do to promote world peace?  Go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa


“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood.  Nor is it exclusive of friendship.  Family members can be your best friends, you know.  And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.”  - Trenton Lee Stewart
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