Well, if there is one thing I can honestly say, it’s that my family always puts the fun in dysfunctional! Truly, from the outside looking in, most people wouldn’t have any clue how very odd we are as a clan. Not that we mind what people think anyways, it’s just one of those quiet truths that our family, in particular, is kind of proud of.
But, I have to say one thing. As dysfunctional as we may be, my parents DID instill a sense of honesty, independence and etiquette when dealing with those who are not familiar with our sense of humor or inappropriate off-handed comments (which we try to keep within our households).
Let me start with: I’m not always the first to say I’m sorry. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not. And when things aren’t going as planned, sometimes one needs to take a step back. It doesn’t mean I care any less, it just means that there is something to be contemplated. And in all reality, I know that saying I’m sorry means less than showing some one I am sorry.
Maybe this is easier said than done for some people. But being raised in an open minded home, with open minded and accepting parents, I was always given the benefit of the doubt to make the right choices. Not because it’s what was expected of me. But because what’s best isn’t always the route I want to take, either because of pride, or stubbornness.
But I always respect my elders, even if I don’t necessarily agree. I don’t assume people give me their unsolicited advice because they want to control me. People who love us are supposed to be protective to some extent. And even though my family and I don’t always agree, we always love and find a way to move beyond. But all of that takes two things, effort and love. It takes the motivation, the drive, the need to keep those who mean something to us safe, it means not always taking the easy path. It means being solid inside and out. And most of all, this etiquette has taught me how to live a life that I can be proud of. I’m not perfect, but I won’t answer you with 2 word responses. I won’t choose want over need when it comes to a loved one’s well being. And maybe I will have to postpone something here or there for some one I care about. But that’s what makes family (blood or those long time friends who are the equivalent) all worth it in the end.
Family will be there when you need a shoulder. Will be there when you need advice. Will be there when you share happy or sad news. Point in case, they will always be there. To ignore them isn’t just disrespectful, it’s like saying it wasn’t worth it. Missing those few times that life affords to enjoy each other always comes with a sense of regret, loss, time we will never get back. And you may be surprised how much something as simple as a phone call can put things right, or at very least, on the mend.
Doesn’t it make sense that this mindset start within our family or circle of friends? Isn’t this the ideal that we wish to pass along to the next generation? Maybe we can’t create Utopia for society, but we should be able to offer a safe haven for all those who touch our heart, light our life and live in our souls.
(I thank my parents for teaching me chivalry and etiquette, as it is a constant reminder to treat others as I would want to be treated).