Caring about the family

By  Andre-Joseph Cordeiro, Youth Speak News
  • January 30, 2009
Family. There is nothing so precious in this world as your family. While this may sound cliché and overused, it is true.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a family is “a group of individuals under one roof and usually under one head.” However, the most appropriate definition I believe is “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation.” I think this comes closer to the family that I am a part of. Whether it is saying “Grace” together before meals, sharing a prayer during the hard times or simply celebrating the Eucharist together at Mass, it adds only to the layers of family I share in.

Often, with five people’s schedules for different activities, work and school, it is hard to keep family time sacred. To combat this is in our home, we get up early and eat breakfast together, if only to share what is going on in our lives. We wrap up with prayer time together to start the day off right. While it might seem hokey to some of my friends and classmates, it helps me centre what I want to accomplish during the day as well as giving thanks to God and to the people who help me in accomplishing my tasks.

Another tradition we share is Valentine’s Day. Because my parents’ wedding anniversary is on Feb. 8 and my Dad’s birthday is on Feb. 13, our family celebrates Valentine’s Day as a family. We take the time to write little love notes to each other, reminding each person why they are unique, special and a vital part of our family. Thanks Mama, for always being the support of the family and especially me. Thanks Dad for always providing for us and leading by example. Thank you, brothers, for always providing company and entertainment.

Silly things and important things fill up the post-it notes that we share with each other. We also eat a meal together and enjoy each other’s company for the evening.

One of the most important aspects of family life is described by my mother as “standing in the gap.” This implies helping out wherever needed — when chores aren’t able to be completed, when someone needs help with a certain project or assignment, etc.

I think the most important value in my family is encouragement. My parents and siblings have always encouraged each other to be better individuals, to reach higher and to be there whether we succeed or not. More importantly, they have provided hope for one another, in their kind words, soothing actions and caring outlook that confirm everything is in God’s hands.

One of my resolutions for this year is to appreciate my family more and show it, whether through notes, helping around the home or simply sitting down and chatting with each member and reminding them how important they are to me. At moments I might seem distant and disconnected because I am too preoccupied with events, situations and deadlines around me. I will make sure that even during the most stressful of times I spend time with them and thank them and God for the gift they are to me.

(Cordeiro, 18, studies media arts at John Abbott College in Montreal.)

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