I just came back from a family vacation and it was exhausting. In my extended family when we go somewhere new it means there is no time to relax. We GO and see EVERYTHING possible in the allotted amount of time. But, in my small family of four, we like to take things nice and slow because we have two girls under four years old. (Which we normally have to carry everywhere! Yeah, it’s great exercise.)
BUT…I did have very special moments with my family. 🙂
While I was on this trip I couldn’t help but think about the differences between families and friends.
Growing up I had to read To Kill a Mockingbird. And, in that book, Harper Lee writes,
“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”
As a society, I feel like we consider family to be a group of people that we love unconditionally. They are supposed to be our biggest support system. BUT, I have seen that they are also sometimes the ones who judge us; take each other for granted (because we are supposed to love each other unconditionally); and have a hard time accepting differences.
Does this sound like your family?
I think this idea comes from ideas and expectations within our nation that have been passed down from generation – much like the archaic belief that women need to stay home with the family and take care of the household while men go to work to earn the money. Or that most teachers are female because men should be doing more strenuous or business-type labor.
But, what about friends?
Those people that you’ve chosen to share yourself with; who know your dirty little secrets that you’d NEVER tell your parents about; who don’t judge you, but help you to see the best in yourself.
Do you have friends like that?
I do – and I consider myself blessed beyond measure because I have multiple friends that fall into that description. And, even though I continue to move to different countries around the world, we are still as close as ever!
What’s even better is when those friends also happen to be your family!
My takeaway from this trip is that I want to be more accepting and open to my family members. I want to be less judgemental and more understanding. I am pursuing a deeper relationship with my family that resembles the way I interact with my friends. No taking them for granted, more open communication, and a better mindset and attitude about each situation we find ourselves in together.
I want to breakdown the normal conventions of what family means to me and those around me. And, I want my family members to be my true friends.
Your Challenge: Try to view and treat your family members like you do your friends, if you don’t already do that.
P.S. If you’re still interested in learning about teaching abroad check out these articles about teaching internationally: Are you ready to teach internationally?, Teaching Internationally: The Process, Pros + Cons of Teaching Abroad
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