Family- Nature and Nurtured
Today is the international day of the family. In my view family offers a kind of spiritual, emotional nourishment that we all need. Family provides us with sense of belonging, acceptance and security while typically laying foundation for the values that we adopt in life. Whether you share the same DNA, share the same emotional connection and work together we typically pull together in times of need as family would.
When you are 6500 miles away from your family, this being the family you share DNA with, one is forced to gain new perspective on the true meaning of family. It is true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. I never really appreciated how much I needed my family until I was 6500 miles away from them. Instantly all the annoying things they did that would get under my skin became the very same things that I loved and treasured them for. The nagging turned into caring, the sibling rivalry turned into admiration and respect, all of a sudden my parents were confiding in me and being open about things I would never have dreamed of (and perhaps in some instances did not need to know). It made me truly appreciates who each of them as an individual.
However family isn’t just about the people you share your DNA with, it’s about the people you make emotional connections with, the people we call our friends. When you are far away from home you are forced to adapt to the environment you have. You find yourself making the most connections with people you never thought you would. Some of the friends I’ve made along the way have been people I would consider more than family. They have become my support network. They have been with me through good and tough times like when my father passed away. They would invite me over to ensure I was able to cope with the loss. They understood and forgave me when I was being a right drama queen, when I needed a hug or needed comforting they were there. Isn’t that what family is about? I remember feeling a such a profound sense of loss after my father died but somehow I was able to cope so much better because I had people around me that cared about me. I am truly fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful people.
We spend more time with the people we work with than we do at home. In my view It’s so vital that the environment you work in provides a family feeling. I am fortunate in that I have such a great work family at People Tree. With the Nepalese earth quake disaster I observed my work family pull together in time of need to try and see what we could do in to help our extended family in Nepal. We feel care and love and are with them in spirit.
The African Family
Having grown up in Africa , where the village does indeed raise the child, the village does become your family. The village is a metaphoric term for extended family. As a child I remember if I was naughty my aunts and uncles could equally reign terror on me the same way my own parents would. One of the most fascinating things about the African culture in the past is that family was about children and procreation. A woman would give her sister her own child if her sister is not able to conceive. It was their form of surrogacy without all the formalities we have today. Strangely enough when questioned many of the children handed over don’t seem to bear any resentment.
We seek family wherever we are that’s just were conditioned to do so. It’s the most natural thing.