Last week I was thinking about what I would tell children about family. I was thinking then about the every day, about what I would tell them when they’d picked up after another family member for the 100th time, or unloaded the dishwasher, or helped fold the laundry. I would say, “We’re a family. We help each other.” That for me is the definition of family, that we help each other, with the every day things and the epic things that happen in our lives.
Family makes the hard things easier and the good things exceedingly, breathtakingly good, whether it’s the family we’re born to or the family we make.
When I found the quote above I fell in love. It seemed to encapsulate for me the best of what family can be. Though family can also be a place where we are challenged to do the hard work of developing the best of who we are, in a safe loving environment where we are sometimes pushed beyond our comfort zone (where the best things generally occur), it should also be a place where we are loved and accepted, with all of our shortcomings and mistakes, a place where we have a lived experience of grace.
I imagine that a child nurtured in the ethos of second chances and “I’m sorry” and grace will emerge into the world confident and peaceful and ready to take on all that he or she encounters in the larger world. She will not shy away from the hard and jagged things. He will not fear the making of mistakes. Instead, they will face life with both the fearlessness and ferocity it requires. I am imagining, of course, children who will do battle, who will go off to the larger world, to the big and difficult places where I will live my adult life. But if my child hungers after simple things, this message will serve him or her just as well, making her gentle and responsible and kind, making him nurturing and deep and true.
In the end, we want our children to be realized beings. We want their lives to be beautiful and rich. We want these things for ourselves as well, which is why we make families, and invest in them the best of our heart.
IMAGE via Unknown Tumblr
PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.