The Importance of Family

As I look back upon time, I can say with pure recollection, that family is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. My upbringing defined me, and my family environment became a part of my identity.

In this respect it remains of utmost importance to initiate, cultivate, maintain, and prioritize family relationships. Growing up in a Western culture where family values are not held as strictly, can be a deterrent in this regard, but it remains in our heritage to continue on this valuable tradition.

I can say I take the best of both worlds when I combine my Indian heritage with my Western upbringing. As a multi-cultural individual, I have teetered on the edge of both cultures, sometimes traversing onto either side of the demarcation line. With a growing sense of who I am, I realize that family relationships are an integral part of what makes up me.

I find identity in family relationships because I am a product of my parents. I was formed in my mother’s womb because of a choice made by both my mother and father. They are my parents, my blood, my reason for existence. As I grew up in their house, I learned a great deal from them.

Some of the barrage of information I acquired over those years of growing up, I applied, while some of the others I wished to forget. Yet the simple fact remains that I was a natural byproduct of the relationship my parents had, and that I had been nurtured in some way by the way they raised me.

My extended family provides meaning to my identity as well. The earliest memories I had of my family are memories that can never be taken away from me. They are treasured beyond all other memories. I can remember times when spending time with extended family brought meaning, love, and acceptance to my young mind. It gave me peace, comfort, and joy. I couldn’t wait to spend time with them.

As a child you find comfort in hanging out with your parents. As a teenager you find identity when you step away from parents and illustrate your independence. As a young adult as you are now independent, you learn to appreciate them so much more.

You find yourself loving their mannerisms so much more. You thank them for the things they provided for you as a child, and you look forward to one day being that same source of strength they were to you in your young age, to them in their old age. It is a note that resonates deep within my heart strings. Family is very important to me

Family - Focus On Them

Because I lived in a Western culture, with an Asian and Christian heritage, I clashed with the worldviews of my parents. I could never understand why we lived a certain way and did the things we did.

Why could I never be like the other guys? Why did I have to do things so differently? That was the qualm and one of the things that spurred my rejection and ignorance of family. I had very self-indulgent, self-focused, introverted childhood. I would look out for myself, and ignore the needs of my family. I remember a time in the India trip I mentioned above, where my ignorance for family was illustrated.

The heat was insane. It was Sunday morning, and we were at a church service. The Pastor was rambling on about some legalistic matter, and preaching his personal ideals to the whole congregation.

To the Western mind, it was very politically incorrect and seemed altogether brash. I’m a thinker, and I was intently focused on what this Pastor had to say. I don’t remember now why the congregation was standing up, but in the next few moments my younger sister started fainting.

In my self-focused state, I didn’t go over and help my older sister who was trying to see what was wrong. My younger cousin who was traveling, had better sense than me and ran to my older sister and helped her with my younger sister. I didn’t think anything of the whole matter. After the service, my mom asked me why I didn’t help my younger sister, and as I thought about it, I realized that I was an inactive observer to something happening to someone in my family.

Now eight months later as I analyze that situation, I realize that I didn’t care about family as well as I would have liked. I only cared about my self, and now as I think about it, it bothers me terribly. I hope now that now as I’ve thought about my inaction, that if the situation repeats itself I would do the honorable thing and help my sister.

Family - They Stick

No matter how hard you try, you can never extricate yourself from your family. They are integral to who you are, and the harder you try to distance yourself from them, the closer they become. I would say, why fight that feeling?

You were put in your family for some cosmic (forgive me for not using a better word) reason, and it remains unthinkable to consider life without them. They stick closer than we could ever hope or reason to think. I say embrace this opportunity rather than minimize it.

Ashish Joy


*Family Values: The Importance of Strong Family Bonds by Kathy D

As a potter molds clay to form a beautiful creation, so does the strong bond of family and good values. Family bonds are a link to our beginning and a guide to our future. Early influences are fundamental to our individual development.

We all want to "belong" and feel accepted. A sense of belonging is derived from the strong bond of family. Family is where our roots take hold and from there we grow. We are molded within a unit, which prepares us for what we will experience in the world and how we react to those experiences. Values are taught at an early age and are carried with us throughout our life.

A close family bond is like a safe harbor where we find refuge. From trusting that someone will pick us up when we fall, as a toddler, to someone being there for us as we experience the storms in life - family bonds help to instill trust and hope in the world around us and belief in ourselves. Rituals of bedtime stories, hugs, holidays and daily meals shared together, provide a sense of warmth, structure and safety. These rituals and traditions, not only create memories and leave a family legacy, but create our first path in life - one that is positive.

Our very spirit can either blossom or wither within the family unit. When we don't have the security and influence of strong family bonds early in life, the ground work is laid for an emptiness, that is often sought to be filled, through destructive venues. If one isn't loved as a child, they may later seek love and acceptance in a way that brings them harm. There is a deep yearning to fill that hollowness, residing in the heart and soul, from never knowing what it's like to be loved, accepted and appreciated for "being".

There can be long-term effects from living in a detached or dysfunctional family. The cycle is often repeated through generations. Children often grow up believing this dysfunctional unit is normal and they may gravitate toward people and situations that mimic the dysfunction they were accustomed to. A healthy relationship won't be easily recognized because it's foreign to someone who hasn't lived within a close and loving family. Often drug and alcohol abuse or domestic violence is repeated, whether by a learned behavior or an escape from behavior that was poured upon an innocent child.

A child may have poor self-image, isolating themselves from peers at school or holding anger and pain inside. This not only affects the emotional well-being, but also physical well-being. The poor self-image may be with them throughout life, causing an inability to make positive choices or be close to others. It's hard to succeed in life when the core of your being has never been nurtured. Healthy development begins before we are born by the choice parents make for the path their children will follow.

*For a full reading of Family Values: The Importance of Strong Family Bonds by Kathy D, click here.