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The Importance Of Family

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

If you were to ask me when I was a teenager, I might have had a different opinion of just how impactful and important the family unit is in our society. At that age, I was short-sighted and didn't understand why spending time with my family was so valuable. I wanted nothing more than to get out in the world, hang out with my friends, and have fun; but looking back I realize that it was the strength of my family bond that gave me the solid foundation to be able to navigate a world that was so much bigger than my understanding.

Now, as an adult I cherish the time I was able to spend with my grandparents and my family as a whole. Their guidance, wisdom, and knowledge were obviously beneficial to helping me become who I am today; but there was something more, something I can't quite put a description on that I cherish and hold dear.

Maybe it was the knowledge that we have a shared past, shared hurts, and a shared understanding of the world, maybe it was the memories from years prior that helped me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself, or maybe it was just as simple as the feeling that no matter what, these are the people that have been through the good and bad times with me and have endured.

When the stress of the outside world was heavy on my shoulders, having like-minded people around me to vent to was a helpful way to unload the troubles of the day. When I was out of bounds, and being unreasonable, my family was the first to be honest enough with me to remind me to 'back up a bit and evaluate things' and when I was successful, I always knew that my family didn't just feel happy FOR me, there were happy WITH me.

These moments of common ground are what help us create the image of who we are and how we fit into the world. The family unit teaches us that we are an important part of a woven fabric of people trying to make it through the ups and downs of life. Through the bonds of family, we learn problem solving, we learn about self-sacrifice and service to others, and we learn to accept that we are valuable and worthy of love; even when we feel we don't deserve it.

It doesn't matter what your family looks like, how many people are in your household, or what the career paths of those you share your life with are; family is important. The time you spend together will knit a bond that the stress of the world can't break if you make an effort to foster it.

While it is true that no family is exactly alike, all families live through similar circumstances because we are all navigating life and the obstacles and challenges life brings. Parents of teens have the unique challenge of balancing the guidance and boundaries a teen needs with the ability to let them learn from their mistakes; but if you're a parent of a teen, don't forget that your teen still needs you. They may look grown, they may seem grown, but the world is a scary place, and your teen still values you (even when they don't act like it).

One of the best memories I have from my teen years was just sitting and talking with my grandfather about, well about anything. Sometimes he told me about his life, and sometimes I told him about mine but what made it so special was that in those moments I knew that no matter how big the world was, I wasn't alone in it. Don't let the eye rolling, or the impatience your teen may sometimes display deter you from spending time with them. Having those moments together will likely not seem important to them now, but I promise you they will look back fondly on the time you spent together; you don't have to be perfect, you just have to be there.

This summer, I encourage you to find a way to create new memories with your family. Maybe a day at the beach, or a Friday evening playing board games. Even something as simple as roasting marshmallows over a fire pit and telling jokes can be a lasting memory that you will cherish forever. No matter how you decide to spend time together, it's sure to recharge you and remind you of who and what is important so that when the stress of the world comes knocking, you'll have the energy to answer.

~Sensei Jen Davenport

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