Families are such funny things.
They can mean so many different things to different people. And we take for granted that as far as human history goes – family is one of the few things that is constant.
Like nature, biology is one of the things that won’t let us deny truth, as much as some will try.
And whether we like it or not, our family is important. It is so much more than the incredible rare change of timing and different DNA combinations. For us as humans, it’s what makes us so different than we already are to others. Think of any family you know, even your own, how different and unique is every sibling despite how common their DNA and shared experiences are?
You may have been blessed with a loving family. Family might be something you don’t think you’ve ever gotten something good from. Family might be what’s got you through the hardest of your times. Family might be what’s caused the hardest of your times.
Like everything good, family is something attacked by evil, because when it’s good, it can be so powerful.
In a good family, we are loved unconditionally. The people who know our own faults better than anyone else call us out for them and get on our nerves in their annoying flaws or comments.
In a good family, we learn to negotiate. We learn to sacrifice and compromise by letting a sibling have the nicer seat in the car or wear our favourite shirt. My sisters and I established “fairness” in our sibling by government when we had to share a piece of gum. To make sure no one was cheated, one would split the piece and the other would choose which half they wanted.
In moments of tension in a family, we learn to cooperate with what it feels like to be on the receiving end of somebody’s bad mood or to be unfairly punished for something we didn’t do. It heightens our sense of justice and wisdom in when to pick our battles. We also learn what it feels like to be criticised when we tried our best or made an honest mistake.
In response to all this, we learn to love.
We truly know how imperfect everyone is in a family and it’s something we forget too quickly.
In society, we forget that everybody has a struggle or vice they are dealing with and, what they probably need most, is to be loved. Think about a time when you’ve been in trouble as a kid and after your punishment period was over, how good was it to return to normal? How relieving was it when you knew you’d been forgiven or when a mistake had been put behind you?
For me, the sign from a sibling that meant a fight was over was when they knocked on the door and said, “Hey, do you want something to eat?”
We can’t be close to every individual we encounter like a good family is. But we can respect and forgive others like family. We don’t have to tell them our deepest secrets, we don’t have to invite them closely into our personal lives. But we can encourage them in their pursuit of good and when they wrong us, even when they don’t know it or aren’t sorry, we can offer them good. Whether that be a genuine smile, or something to eat.
Witten by Elise Drum
Elise is a 4th Year Medical student from rural NSW who enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors. She also loves food but when it comes to cooking – she claims to burn water.