Family is the cornerstone of our lives and society. The moment we were brought into this world we become a member of a family. A unit that unquestionably had a significant influence upon our lives. Sometimes we take for granted how important our family is to us. We often forget that they are the people who have shaped who we are, supported us when we encountered problems and shared our hopes, dreams and accomplishments.
Did you ever hear the saying, “Don’t know what you have until it’s gone? Well I can tell you it is true. I have always had a strong sense of family, but when I lost my father I appreciated family even more. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him. I often want to tell him something exciting that has happened to me or ask for his advice on a particular matter. But I can’t because he is not there. Although, I will never forget the wonderful memories and the things he taught me, especially our times cod jigging.
After all, this is one of the things families do, right? They teach us and guide us in the right direction. They try to provide us with a sense of right and wrong. As a toddler, they teach us safety and security. As a school aged child they teach us to respect others and as a teenage they teach us to be independent. The kind of person we become is a result of the values we were given throughout the years. Reams of advice came from our parents and siblings, “Don’t sit too close to the TV“, “Eat your vegetables” and “Don’t drive to fast” are some examples that come to mind.
At times we probably felt that the advice was not good and that our family was trying to ruin our fun. Instead, ironically, they were only looking out for our best interests. Our family sets the stage and are the supporting actors that mould our character.
How often did someone say, “You look just like your mother?” or “You have your dad’s sense of humour?” Family members show us how to love and how to make good decisions. When I am faced with a problem, I think, “What would my mother do now?” Our roots shape our personality and to some extent determine what we will do in life.
Sometimes we find that life is not all sunshine and happiness. There will be times when we are faced with obstacles, challenges and even failures. These are the times when we need our family the most. A family is supposed to form a safety net when one of its members is falling. It isn’t just there to shine brightly when everything is going perfectly. Family members will have problems from time to time – mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Drawing on love, support and strength of the family can help us weather even the toughest storms. For instance, think of the young teenage girl who gets pregnant. She is still in high school, has no money and probably not emotionally ready to become a parent. What will she do and whom will she turn to? If she has a loving and caring family, they will provide the needed supports. What about the times when we find ourselves in financial hardships. Everyone knows that post-secondary education is very expensive. Even more so, if you have to move away from your home. Probably one of the most trying times is the lost of a loved one. Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is that your family will be there for you unconditionally when all else fails.
My family has shared the highlights of my life. They have watched me become academically successful – obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and receive the James Barnes Award for Academic Excellence; create my own business; internationally live, work and travel, and moreover become my own person. Family is there for all the important events and make up most of our memories. They are there to praise you for all the good things you have done and give you a pat on the back for your efforts. They are the people we want to spend the holidays with.
Family is a true gift, most likely the best one we will ever receive. Even though we all have busy schedules we should appreciate those closest to us. If you have not talked to a member of your family in a while, give them a call, drop by and visit just to let them know you are thinking of them . It will make a world of difference to your life and theirs.
The social media is no substitute for that personal touch, which was evident today at dinner. We went out to my grandmother’s house as she prepared a big traditional Sunday dinner with fresh greens. It was quite the meal with moose meat, turkey necks, peas pudding, turnip, carrot, potatoes, salt beef, molasses pudding and gravy.
We were 10 total, my cousin came with her four small children. It was nice to see so much life in the house. The kids ate in the living room with a TV tray each. Brings back memories when I was a child when there were other little cousins around and you always ate in the living room or at a small table. Now as an adult, we talked and yarned around the table as we filled our puddicks (stomachs) with grandmother’s good grub.
Usually after dinner I would rush off to get back to work, but my little cousin asked me if I would play “Go Fish” with her. I quickly agreed and so happy I did. My cousin is the eldest of four and she said that her youngest brother and sister (the twins) had to play as well, they were only 3. It was amazing to see the request to have everyone included, one could sense the strength of the family unit. We worked out a way to help the two enjoy the simple card game of “Go Fish”. We let the youngest sister start. She got 4 pairs right from the beginning and in the end, took 1st place. Myself, we I was a distance last – but certainly the one who turned out to be the big winner.
When I got up to go, the four children all gravitated to my legs and did not want me to leave. They were like bolts that kept me secured to the floor. There is no greater feeling than spending time with your family, sharing smiles and making new memories.
Today brought back so many memories of my childhood. There is something wonderful about the sense of fun and freedom as a child. They truly enjoy life’s simplest pleasures.
In today’s busy world, please take some time to spend it with those who matter most.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
Christopher Mitchelmore was elected the first New Democratic Party (NDP) member for the District of The Straits-White Bay North on October 11, 2011 in the Newfoundland & Labrador House of Assembly. He is the youngest sitting MHA in the current legislature.