Learning the Value of Family
In the following series of blogs, I’ll tell some of my family stories. What’s my purpose? To strike a chord with you with the thought, the hope, that you’ll remember your family stories. Better still, my hope is that you’ll tell your family stories to your children, your grandchildren, and even your great-grandchildren. It’s our stories that bind us together as family.
I suspect, for most people, there’s a time when you learn the value of family.
My own father passed away one week before Christmas—on December 18, 1974. At the time he passed, he left my mother with six kids to raise, no house, and no insurance. It was a trying time, and we had some hard lessons to learn.
It seemed that our house was especially cold—and it wasn’t just because of the weather. I think we all had to retreat into our corners and learn to deal with the grief in our own way. We seemed to go through the motions in a lot of things. Life seemed a bit hollow. We just weren’t hitting on all cylinders.
But slowly things began to change. My oldest brother came home from college and spent the summers with us. He became unofficial leader. There were chores to do and order to be restored—even if I didn’t like it. We moved to a new house and found ourselves in a new school and new rhythm. The most important time came at Christmas. As we gathered together, there started to be some new traditions: Christmas cake. A new place to gather. Gifts to buy and exchange for one another.
And even though we didn’t have a fireplace, it was as though the warmth of family became our fireplace. The warmth was tangible. The thaw began to melt, and underneath the frost and the grief, we discovered . . . family.
That discovery made family worth fighting for again. It made gathering important. It was something to hold on to and never lose again.
Have you made that discovery? Or is it time for a rediscovery?