Wednesday, December 03, 2014

What is Family?

Over the past couple of Thanksgivings I have spent it with what would appear from the outside as part of my "Family". But not until Thanksgiving of 2014 did I realize how as much as past holidays gave the appearance of being with Family, on the inside something was always missing. I invested my time this year with people who were kind and loving and even as a "Gaijin" (as it's called in Japanese) I felt accepted for who I am. 

Family accepts you for how you are and even promotes and supports who you are when you don't. A good friend recently has been presented with what some would say is an unsurmountable challenge, but with the help of his family he is learning that it is surmountable and will still be loved and accepted for who he is regardless.

The Oxford Dictionary defines FAMILY as "a group of parents and children living in a household." Personally I think this definition is at least one generation outdated (about 20-25 years) since if I look around my community very few are fit this definition. Another Oxford definition of FAMILY is "a person or people related to one and so betreated with a special loyalty or intimacy" which is closer to a more current view of FAMILY. Not so berate Oxford but I propose this definition of family both from my beliefs and what I would like from my own FAMILY is "a person or people related by beliefs or customs and so betreated with a special loyalty or intimacy and acceptance." I challenge you to create or critique my definition as well. In my heart of hearts I believe FAMILY is who you make them. In my own life, I have had strangers treat me with more kindness and love than people who elected for the responsibility of being my FAMILY but treated me without kindness, love, and could provide no nurturing environment for me to thrive (although I did despite this).

Who do you spend your holidays with? Does your FAMILY look and feel like the outdated definition? Or have you elected to create your own FAMILY or tribe to be more inclusive and supportive and stretch across the blood lines?

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