My pops and I took a trip to Nashville, Tennessee recently for our 45th annual family reunion. It's a family tradition every Labor Day weekend, where my family gathers together from different parts of the United States to spend some quality time together, away from the ill troubles of life. We involve ourselves in numerous activities, such as bowling with my cousins, our annual family auction, a family dinner, and catching up each other up on the current events of our lives.
On a couple of occasions throughout this trip, my relatives would bring up future endeavors for next year's reunion. Also, there was discussion of what can be done in order for the next generation of the family to continue the ongoing family reunion tradition. One of the main purposes of our tradition is to get more of the younger generation to participate and develop close-knit bonds, as well as get more family involved in future family reunions. This year’s reunion really had me thinking about the importance of family more than ever.
During my childhood, I was raised in a family-oriented environment. I was always close with my cousins, as well as my other relatives. My sister and I would always spend our summer vacations with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and our cousins. I began to notice that the older we got, the more distant some family members became. These days, it's difficult to keep in contact with different family members.
It's not intentional because I always have my family on the brain. But when your family is far away, and you have your own obligations and personal issues to deal with on a daily basis, it can be difficult to keep in touch. Not that it’s selfish to do so, but everyone is so concerned with their own lives and thinking so much about themselves and how they can solve their own problems, it can be easy to take for granted the people around you, and those supporting you from a distance. I promise that I'm bettering myself in regards to this.
Honestly, family is the most important thing in the book of life right next to God. It's disappointing to see a lot of the peers I grew up with lacking some kind of close relationship with their family members. It's important to establish a relationship with your family. Generation-Y really needs to be better at this.
A lot of us are venturing out on our own into the real world, whether it's college living or post-college living. While we're out living independently, we will come across an abundance of struggles. It might have to deal with money problems, hating a current job, not having a solid relationship with the opposite sex, or maybe we're just not satisfied with the way we are living.
The bottom line is, through the toughest times, we need the love and support of our families. We need family for those times when we'll be in our lowest of lows and our friends won't know the right things to say, or have the right resources to help us get to a better place. However, the family connection, whether it’s with parents or relatives, is always there to pick us up when we’re feeling down.
Some of us don't really take the time to think about how grateful we are to still have our families in our lives. You might not have the best relationship with family, and you may bump heads with them at times, but at the end of day, family is essential to the soul. We're so focused on getting out in the real world to live on our own that we don't take the time to realize how great we have it with family by our side.
You never know what knowledge, lessons and gifts your family may offer you. What is so good about family is that they are always there to comfort you, no matter if you’re wrong or right – no matter what the situation is. Family is our motivation. We must cherish the times we have with our family as often as possible because one day, spending time with family won’t even be a possibility.
At a time when there is tragedy being seen all over the world, scary and very real events bringing us all back down to Earth, it really makes you want to embrace life while you can. Enjoy each moment you have with family and always love and cherish them through the good and bad. And don’t forget thank them for helping shape the person you are from their unconditional love and support - once is never enough.
Top Photo Courtesy: Natalya Fedorova