The past year has seen additions to some of our families. Whether through birth or marriage, family additions are always exciting times. The new family member brings a new chance to develop a relationship, find things in common, discover diversity of thought and learn how to work through differences. The relationship brings new responsibilities, new opportunities, new discoveries like family recipes from your new in-law or that funny little laugh from the new granddaughter.
The saying that “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family” always seems like a negative statement to me. In fact, I used it that way in a previous post when describing the empty spot I have because of the family environment in which I was raised. However, I don’t think it should be taken as a negative statement. If we only had relationships with people we chose, we would likely only have relationships with people just like us. That’s human nature. I’ve seen it play out at work, church and school throughout my life. Even when we consciously try to broaden our aperture in relationships, we get pulled back to our personal center.
Family matters. We aren’t arbitrarily placed in our family. We’re there for a reason and we shouldn’t use the saying above as a reason to avoid that reason or our responsibility to our family. It’s not easy. Our parents can get on our nerves because they constantly have a perspective that is at least two decades removed from ours. Our siblings may ignore us or continue to treat us like the “little kid” even in our forties. Our weird uncle or psycho cousin might cramp our style. No matter what the challenge, they are still family and they matter. We can let our selfish nature get in the way or we can serve their needs and strengthen our families…even when they are spread out across the country. If not, the time will come when we regret our lack of effort or selfish focus. I know because I’ve seen that happen and I’ve felt that happen. Tee good thing is that each new day brings an opportunity to make family matter…call you mom, text your dad, hug your weird uncle or play cards with your psycho cousin. You won’t regret it.