The word ‘family’ can take on different meanings for different people. The dictionary defines family in two ways; a group of people, consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit, or all the descendants of a common ancestor.
I just love the word family. Each time I say it or hear it, the word evokes a sense and feeling of warmth within me, that always manages to put a smile on my face. I love the idea of family and the sense of belonging it denotes. There are blessings that come with being part of a group of people who have your best interest at heart. All throughout history there are stories of dysfunctional families. We’ve heard of how individuals succeed despite familial pressure or influence, or of how some families exhibit control or negative influences, on its members. I could go on and on. But rather, I prefer to focus on the positive family units, structures and dynamics, that I have come across. One of my favourite authors, Karen Kingsbury, paints beautiful pictures of loving and supportive families, that grow through adversities, in her Baxter Family novels. These novels helped to shape my personal ideals of what I wanted my own family to be.
It is my opinion that the family is the foundation of our societies. If we can manage to work on and strengthen our family units, society as a whole could benefit in remarkable ways. In the past I can recall observations I made. There seemed to be a definite separation between an individual’s family and their friends. As time has gone on the lines have blurred considerably. It is so important to share the joy and love of family with the genuine and sincere people we meet along life’s journey. I absolutely love my husband and our children, but I also have a special love for the people I’ve met throughout my life, who have become part of our family unit. These people enrich our family life and we’d struggle to imagine our day to day lives without them.
Having family love and support is a precious gift. Being able to offer the love, support and encouragement that are features of a healthy functioning family, is rewarding. I am grateful to God for a new year filled with opportunities to share kindness and encouragement and be a blessing. The characteristics of a healthy, loving and supportive family can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And Galatians 5:22-23; But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law’.
So as we’ve walked into March 2020, try not to stress if, for whatever reason, you find yourself without the warmth of a family. You can find that family, and if that’s a struggle, build a family; friends can be the family we choose ourselves. Not being related by blood, does not mean you’re not family. A real family simply consists of a group of people who support one another and celebrate life’s achievements together. They endeavour to be there for each other in happy times and sad. Trust me, family life will not always be easy, it’s challenging. But, it is the support despite these challenges, that makes a family real.
I’ll leave you with a beautiful definition of family that I found on the internet at www.bestrongfamilies.org. ‘Family means, having someone to love you unconditionally in spite of you and your shortcomings. Family is loving and supporting one another, even when its not easy to do so. It’s being the best person you could be so that you may inspire your loved ones.
Mrs. Nadine Canoville
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