The oxford dictionary defines family as; “A group of people related by blood or marriage.”
My own definition of family is, “any group of people, whether blood related or not, that share love, support, values and loyalty”.
Family is those relationships that never end. Disagreements and fights occur but they cannot and should not break the bond of a real family. In Botswana, although nuclear family is important, extended family is also strongly valued. It plays an important role in the growth and development of children that carries through to elderly life.
There are many formats a family can take, what really matters is that the people are committed to loving and taking care of each other. Several people even consider their friend as family because they’re the people there for them in time of need. A family structure is flexible, it has no fixed or right form, children and adults can be adopted or assimilated to become part of a new family. In early stages of life, family plays the most significant role. A sense of belonging in a new world, support, love and personal development into an individual.
My Experience Of Family
I was born an only child into a huge extended family, as big as “Cheaper by the dozen” movie family. My mother is the first born of eight children. Back in the day, before anyone departed, there were twelve family members in one homestead. Eight children, both parents, my great grandmother and one grandchild, being me. In the present day this setup would be considered costly and not practical. But back then, it was a lively and warm. Where you could get love and attention in every way.
My family were big farmers and my mother worked to provide the rest. Some of my best memories growing up are the early morning trips to the kraal with my uncle. The grass misty and the air fresh, earthy smell and bird sounds. Then I would be allowed to have the cow’s first milk. The evenings sitting by my grandfather as he told us folk tales, and we would cook corn. Those are some of my best early childhood experiences. They taught me about true happiness and peace without a lot of material things to count on.
My second family was introduced by fate and through a strong friendship my mother built. I moved to stay with my mother when I was eight years old. Due to an unforeseen event of a fire, the family temporarily took me in. Temporary turned into a strong bond of love, seven years later, the woman who was now a grandmother to me still couldn’t stand to see me leave. Today fifteen years later the bond is still as strong. This family taught me the importance of selfless and unconditional love.
Why Family Is Important
– Family loves and understands you, which gives a sense of belonging and affection.
-It gives support and security by always being there in good and bad times. They are the people who always accept you, no matter how much you make a mess.
-They are a guide through life and a source of inspiration.
-The people who provide care in time of need.
-Family gives your world a centre, no matter where or how far you go, you always know you have a home to go back to- your family home.
-Helps in raise children.
-Family helps to make you who you are. From family we get our values, our personality is shaped; it provides financial and material support. We owe everything we are today to the people who were present and active in our upbringing.
Keeping A Family Bond Strong In A Modern Society
Modern society and the fast track active lifestyles can be a constraint to constant family interaction as compared to the old days. This can sometimes weaken the bond if not carefully addressed. The tips below on keeping the family bond strong:
-Communication should be open at all times between all members of the family. Regular phone calls are important to keep in contact. I personally make effort for three to five phone calls to my mother in a week. Both grandmothers get at least two phone calls a month if I have been away. Other family members its constant random calls.
-Make regular visits even in the absence of any special events or commitments.
– Also organize regular and scheduled family gatherings, where every member comes and interacts.
-Invite each other to your social events even if you do not stay in the same town or village.
-Keep each other updated about the thing occurring in your lives.
– Always talk about issues bothering you and resolve them.
-Learn to forgive and move past things.
My Final Thoughts
There is no cut in stone definition of family. To everyone it’s something different and always takes a different structure. There may be standard family settings common, but we make our own structure. Family is the most important relationship in a person’s life. It literally makes us who we are. The relationships should be embraced and kept close to heart, because home is where the heart is, and that’s where you find your family. The real pillars of your strength.
If you liked this post, please read my other article about Kids Being Raised By Their Granny.