The importance of family! Just this week I held my first grandchild in my arms an event that few years ago would have signalled the beginning of the fulfilment of my dreams…to be an awesome Grandfather. Don’t get me wrong, I have every intention of being the best Grandfather I can and the difference is his or anyone else’s satisfaction with my performance of my Grandfatherly duties will not define me, whereas in the past it would have definitely affected me. In any case I’ve been thinking about Family and the importance thereof!
You can pick you friends
You can pick your friends but not your relatives sometimes we all wish this were not true! Wouldn’t it be great if we could pick all the people who have an influence in our life? No not at all because sometime we need to be told the truth whether we want to hear it or not. That is where family are invaluable. My sister has never missed an opportunity to correct me yet and we’ve been together now for 53 years!
This begs the question what is family? You see in my case I have two siblings, four children my wife three step children, my Mum and Dad, sundry nieces and nephews and of course a grandson. Then there’s my wife’s family. Her Mum and Dad and six (yes count them brothers and sisters) and do we all get on all the time?Not a chance! And they are all family by genetics or marriage but is that what really makes a family or is there something else going on?
What really makes a family?
Looking at the etymology of the word “family” give us a clue as to what this might be. Dictionary.com gives us;
“early 15c., “servants of a household,” from Latin familia “family servants,
domestics collectively, the servants in a household,” thus also “members of
a household, the estate, property; the household, including relatives and
servants,” from famulus “servant,” of unknown origin. The Latin word
rarely appears in the sense “parents with their children,” for which domus
(see domestic ) was used.”
The word Family originates from the Latin collective term for household servants not as one would suppose from a term used to describe what is now the nuclear family Mum, Dad and children. Ah Ha! We are onto something here…if we look at our family as those with whom we share a common history, particularly pertaining to the giving of service to one another we can identify a broader possibly more reliable meaning of family.
Your family members know you like no other person can. They are the witnesses to your life and they have a context for why you think and feel the way you do. They have your back and will love and forgive you your foibles and failings. Your family realise you aren’t perfect; they love you in spite of the imperfections. If you have people in your life who know you like this they are YOUR family!
It is better to Say Sorry than to Be Sorry!
Just over 25 years ago I lost my elder sister to cancer at the age of 31. It was tragic, heart breaking. As my Mum says everyone get a replacement except the family. For me however the greatest tragedy was never being able to undo what I had done! What was the evil I had perpetrated on my sister? Competition! We had competed in everything from who could grow the fastest to who had the best job, it seemed we never saw eye to eye. And then she was gone in a matter of months.
I loved my sister and maybe she knew that but once she was gone that maybe was not good enough I wished I had made it a whole lot clearer, I wished I had spent ZERO time competing and all the time cooperating. I was lucky while we were not close we were at least still talking and that is not always the case.
The opposite to addiction is not sobriety, it is connection. Humans are built for connection when we lose connection to those we are closest to it effects the very definition of who we are. We go looking for substitutes, you know the standards Drugs, Alcohol and Social Media! And it doesn’t have to be that way. It is better to say Sorry than to Be Sorry! If you are separated from your family own what you can of the reason. Be sorry for that and reach out. Each of us are made better by our connection to others.
My world is the richer today because I have a whole bunch of new connections through my new born Grandson, that doesn’t happen very day and as my children tell me it will only happen on their timetable not mine. What I can do every day is check out those connections to family I do have, make sure they are not neglected and make the effort to show I care and want to be connected. Do that and see if your life does not improve beyond your imagination.