Door Number Nine: The Family Connection

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” ~Alex Haley

I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve been frustrated with my family. When I was younger, my brothers and I would irritate one another until situations would escalate into all-out war (Fortunately, years of watching professional wrestling, ensured I always came out on top). Then of course there were my parents, who upon reflection were pretty laid back and reasonable individuals. Of course, as most adolescents have tendency to do, I found plenty of opportunity to disagree with their wishes and create unneeded tension (Though, I still contend they overreacted to the whole breaking my brothers tailbone thing). However, despite the headaches we gave one another, I wouldn’t trade my family for the world. This is a sentiment most of us can probably apply to a number of people in our life. The reasons for maintaining this connection throughout our lives emphasize the importance of keeping this door open in the greater hallway of our existence.

Family reminds us of where we came from. As we get older, our views and perspectives change as we learn more about the world around us. However, it is important to remember no matter how far we progress in life, there are still people who remember us from the beginning. They remind us of the deeper values we built when we were young. Sure there are many things from our youth that should stay in the past. For example, I don’t think I’m ever going to take up the high-flying hobby of skateboard posing again. However, when it comes to things like respecting others and stepping on others to get ahead in the life, being reminded about the importance of these values every once in a while is a great boon.

Family care about us in a way most people can’t. That’s not to say the rest of the world are a bunch of uncaring jerks. However, the closeness that comes from the familial bond is unparalleled. The reason for a great deal of the conflict that arises between family is usually result of each individuals care for the other. Sure, it can be annoying when you have a mother that checks up on you constantly regarding seemingly mundane matter. Or a father who gives you flak for waiting so long to get the oil in your car charged. However, in both of these cases it is because of their concern for your mental and physical well-being they persist in adding a bit of stress to your life. And while these expressions can seem counter intuitive at times, its nice to know that someone cares enough to be that interested in the more minute details of your life.

Family connection enriches the life of all its members. When nurtured properly, connecting with family benefits all parties involved. We get the benefit of knowing someone is there no matter what the circumstances. We share in the struggles and rejoice in the victories. We can relive some of the nostalgia of life by simply watching a couple of movies with the family (Star Wars anyone?). And we can be there for one another when no else is. The bond of family ties one another together in ways many of life’s other relationships are not capable of matching.

While remaining connected to family may not seem like a big deal, keeping this element in our lives is necessary. Not only does family remind us where we come from, but they also add a level of care and enrichment into our lives that is unparalleled. Even for those of us, who may not have a great deal of blood relations left, this door can be realized. Family goes beyond mere shared genetic data.  We define it as those we care most about. Those who know us at our deepest level, imperfections and all.  So whether you come from a classic Brady Bunch style family or something more akin to the Skywalker clan make an effort to stay in touch. Your life will be better for it.


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