Ranie’s notes: I used to listen to my Grandma but never realized the wisdom she had until it was too late to ask all the questions I needed the answers to. This is one thing I do remember, but I can’t put it in her words because she never knew the changing structure of families. Amazingly, her wisdom still holds, no matter what form or shape our world takes.
Families in this day and age can be quite different from the traditional definition, but a family is a family, after all. Whether it’s composed of Mom, Dad and kids, or one Mom and kids or one Dad and kids or two ‘Moms’ or ‘Dads’ or any combination, a family is a unit that faces the world together.
Kids need to feel safe within their family unit. They need to know that they can turn to parents for protection, for comfort and to learn what they need to know about the world. They need to know that Mom or Dad is there to back them when things get tough. There are no age restrictions on that.
Living the family life means living well within that unit and giving freely of one’s abilities and love for the purpose of keeping the unit intact, secure and for the good of all involved.
Is that an old fashioned concept? If it is, then “family” is an old fashioned concept, because that’s what a family is all about.
Raising kids is a large part of the purpose of a family unit, but relationships between partners is just as important. When those relationships fail or are not all they can be, the kids suffer as well.
Freely giving of one’s abilities and care doesn’t mean just for the kids. It means to freely give one’s abilities and care for the good of each other and the purpose of extending that relationship indefinitely.
Maybe it’s the “freely” part that causes so many problems. Many times, we are not raised to be as giving and cheerful about life as we once were. Selfishness too often robs us of deep, lasting relationships because we are more concerned with getting instead of giving.
It may seem difficult to turn around, but it’s not so much. If you find yourself concentrating on what you are getting out of your relationship and your family instead of what you are giving to it, you have found the place to start. A serious talk with yourself may be in order.
Your kids will follow suit. They depend on you to show them what is the right way to act in this world and if they see you acting in a caring, unselfish way, they will act the same way.
It’s not a matter of teaching them. It’s a matter of living your life so they can follow your lead.