One of the things I believe about family is that it should be the classroom in which we learn how to live in the world and maintain relationships. It is the first place we are impacted by relationships and where we learn how to connect and get along with others. It is in our homes where we learn to empathize and sympathize, how to apologize and forgive, how to be fair and respect each other. We learn how to defend and protect one another, how to be a friend and confidant, how to help and allow others to help us. It is the very place we should learn how to respect others and their property, how to deal with negative consequences tied to poor behavior, manage our emotions, and resolve conflict peacefully. Sometimes our family and the ones we learn these things from aren’t the same people we share a house with; sometimes our family is birthed out of friendships between neighbors, classmates, teammates, or our church body. And, you know what? That’s okay!
The term ‘family’ has no limits or bounds. Family isn’t determined by DNA, but by relationship bonds that are developed and deepened through experiences, time, and effort.
I believe relationships are the beauty of community – meeting the innate desires of our hearts to belong, to be loved, and to feel important. This familial community is important because it allows us to experience life and relationships outside of our homes, which is really important, too.
Some of the things I’m most grateful for in life are the relationships I’ve been blessed to build with other women and moms over the years. Friends like these help you not feel so alone in the struggles of raising children (especially if you’d like to raise a child counter culturally) and balancing yourself and being a mom and/or wife. The community is warm and comfortable but it also serves as the sounding board where hard truths are shared with an understanding gentleness.
Life isn’t always easy. And, there’s nothing like having to compound a difficult situation with loneliness and a lack of genuine support. We all need a safe place to unwind and express our unfiltered emotions and receive both truth and empathy. We were built for relationships and need each other in order to thrive throughout life.
Wouldn’t it be great if we were to show genuine concern for each other? For us to see another who is hurting and welcome them in to our fold? To celebrate with those who are celebrating? I know that love for others is exactly what I want for my myself and my children. I want them surrounded by people who love them in the good and bad and who embrace and accept them. Don’t you? If it is, where are you because I want to be your friend. I want my children to befriend your children and for our family to become yours. I believe we can raise a generation of children who are more accepting, more understanding, kinder, and more patient with others. And, that’s what our communities need a whole lot more of. Don’t you think?
Alaina Mayes is a proud Texas girl and mother of twin girls, Rhyann and Logan. She is also a teacher, blogger, and lover of all things Plexus!!