19 Feb

Family

Call it a CLAN, call it a NETWORK, call it a TRIBE, call it a FAMILY. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. (Jane Howard)

According to the 2010 Census, the traditional family which consists of a husband and wife with their own children under 18 years of age, now accounts for only one in five U.S. households. Our family, a traditional family, has become the minority.

I grew up in a traditional family. My parents have been married for 54 years and continue to be a great example of a true and lasting relationship. I was the middle child, my brother was two years older and my sister was two years younger. When I was growing up, we ate as a family, went snowmobiling as a family, went fishing as a family, went to church as a family, went camping as a family and went on vacations as a family. It is safe to say we did most things as a family. Throughout my growing up years at home, the traditions of our family were stamped into my lifestyle.

Today, there are twenty-one of us in our extended family. We are a close knit group and the values that were instilled in us have been passed on down to the next generation. From my parents’ perspective, when you raise your children, you’re also raising your grandchildren. Patterns tend to persist.

  • Just as my dad’s brothers played cribbage when they got together, our family plays cribbage when we get together. It’s quite the honor to be the holiday cribbage tournament champion for the year.
  • Just as my parents used to play Pinochle on Friday nights with their family, our family has game nights with family and friends. Instead of heading out on the town for some fun, many nights are spent around the kitchen table laughing with one another, playing games and enjoying the company of each other. Who needs to see a comedian when we have a house full of them!
  • Just as my dad made breakfast on Sunday morning before church, my husband makes breakfast on Sunday mornings. Whatever the menu, we start the day off together. A family that prays together stay together.
  • Just as my parent’s family and friends helped them build their first house, our family helped us build our house. Between electrical, flooring, painting, tiling, cabinets, in-floor heating, we each had a job to do. We all got to be a part of the process and use the skills that we were blessed with. You would think we would have remembered to add a doorbell…
  • We were always welcome to come back home. After college, my brother and I both moved back. The door is always open just as the sign says that is displayed next to the front steps at my parents’ home. All of our families love to go to Nana and Papa’s where the grandkids are always spoiled and cookies are within reach.
  • Traditions have accumulated over the years to include birthday dinners, making cookies at Thanksgiving, a Christmas Eve meal and gift exchange and an Easter egg hunt, even if it has to be indoors.

My husband and I have been married for 23 years. We have three daughters who are very close to their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. We live less than a block away from my parents. I truly believe in the old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The extended family is very involved in the girl’s lives. From concerts to sporting events to birthday dinners, the whole family gets together and is supportive of the girls and their passions.

Family: like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.

What makes our family traditional is technically the physical makeup. But, it is so much more than that. We are a traditional family that has continued to persist for generations and will hopefully continue the tradition into the future. Traditional families still exist in this day and age while it may seem as though they have become extinct and are a fragment of the past. We are a traditional family, however, the most important piece is not being traditional, rather, it is the fact that we are a family. Everyone should have and cherish the people they call family. Whether it is a single parent and two children, two parents remarried and step children, an elderly couple with children all grown up, two parents with three children at home, or anything in between, a family sticks together and supports each other throughout life.

“Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” –Lilo and Stitch

 

Published in Queen of the Castle ~ February 2015

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