It’s true. Our family are the first friends we have in life. They are the ones who witness just about all of our firsts. They are the ones who pick us up when we fall-after they laugh, of course. They are the ones who wear our clothes without permission or steal the last ice cream from the freezer even if they know you haven’t had any, only to share with you later-sometimes and wipe are tears when we cry.
Family, whether it’s your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings or cousins, are the first ones to teach you how to love, how to hate, how to dream. The bond you have with your family should be one that trumps all others. It should be a bond rooted in strength and forgiveness, kindness and trust. Family is home and home should be your sanctuary.
Times have changed so much. Nowadays, the family circle is broken and, in some cases, irreparably so. As we get older, we change. Our interests change. Our thoughts are overloaded with the sights, sounds, touches and tastes of our environment. We meet new people and adopt some of their qualities. We go through the many sequences of trying to shape-shift into who we are meant to be in our next stage of life and, sometimes we step away from our sanctuary.
Stepping away, in my opinion, is not the same as branching out. When you branch out, you remain rooted to your core. You still flourish from the nutritional strength that gave you life and maintained you and you can now expand it and make it stronger. This in no way declares eternal dependency. It, instead, develops independent success. When you step away, you detach yourself from that which you came. You can no longer gain sustenance and you can not add to it.
There may be many reasons why we step away from the roots of our beginning. Sometimes, the cause is so extensive that the only choice we have is to sever the ties. Sometimes, however, the cause is just a wrinkle that no one wants to straighten out. Sometimes our own mind magnifies a situation to imaginary proportions; other times, it’s our pride.
No one ever wants to be the first to say they’re sorry because, let’s face it, who likes to admit they’re wrong? In some cases, you may not even be the one who’s at fault. Those are the times we need to rise above the glass encased emotions that we harvest and recognize what’s really important. If you can remember a time when your family was crazy but cool, you should also remember some key factors in keeping them cool (the crazy will always represent itself):
- Communication is one of the essential elements that keeps a family strong. Take time to talk to each other. Celebrate successes. Talk about future plans. Send a quick text to say hello. Keep it personal. Social media love isn’t always sufficient.
- Be positive. The sun doesn’t always shine. Sometimes you have to bring your own light to illuminate someone else’s darkness. They’ll thank you for it and you’ll recognize their appreciation if you’re not, solely, looking for it.
- Family night. A lot can happen in a week. Plan a day-maybe once a month-where everyone can get together to catch up. Have fun with each other, play games, reminisce. Make memories.
- Be there for one another. Even the strongest shoulder needs someone to lean on. Let your family know that you are there for them. Even when you think they should know, say it anyway. Reinforcing how much you love and care for someone can move mountains.
There are so many ways you can maintain the bond with your family. It may take lots of creativity and patience but it’s well worth the effort. Just like you’ve changed, so have they. You all have so many NEW things to learn about each other. Take advantage of it.