By Norb Rug
Dictionary.com defines a family as any group of persons closely related by blood. This would include parents, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
But I disagree. While all of these people would be thought of as family, there is much more to being in a family than just blood. Family to me is made up of those people with whom I feel a close kinship.
I have some family members I haven’t seen or heard from for years, even decades. I honestly don’t even know if some of them are dead or alive. I hardly think of them as family anymore, but in the strictest sense of the word, I guess they are.
The people I consider my family most are my wife, children, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, cousins and friends. They supply me with the support that a true family provides.
Other family members live far away but we remain in contact. Although I rarely get to see them, they are still family. Location doesn’t make them any less of a family member.
My wife has been providing child care for several years. Some of the children she has nurtured have since moved away with their parents, some as far as Texas and North Carolina.
Yet we still think of these children and their parents as family. There is no common blood line, just a feeling that they are family to us.
My wife is now watching two small children who are feeling more and more like family to me every day. I guess when you help in raising children, they will always carry a small piece of your heart with them.
I have a good friend whom I met in junior high school and we still try to go out to dinner together once a month. We have gone through many good times and a few not so good times. I think of him not only as a good friend but also as a brother. I know he will always be there for me if I ever need him and I hope he knows that I will be there for him, too, when he needs me.
In my lifetime, like most people, I have faced circumstances that would have been difficult to get through without the support of my family. With their help, much of the burden was lifted from my shoulders. We were able to talk about these problems and, yes, even laugh about them. I don’t think there is a better therapy than a loving family.
Family is very important and valuable to me and is something that I never will take for granted. I am so fortunate that my family has always been there for me in times of trouble. They are my rock, my safe harbor in a storm, always holding their arms open to me with love.
A family should be made up of people you can trust and can count on. I often read in the papers and online or see on television news stories about people who neglect their children or abuse other family members, verbally and physically. I simply don’t understand this.
In this uncertain world, full of random acts of violence and terrorism, family is more important than ever.
I think the breakdown of the family as a stabilizing force is the cause of many problems in modern society. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and start focusing more on family values. Perhaps then the world will become a better place to live.