Okay. So once Thanksgiving dinner is over, the turkey is gone, the table is cleaned off, your good dishes are put away, and everyone has gone home with their bellies full, what’s next? After all of the pleasantries and warm welcomes, is the family gonna keep in contact with each other more often or keep their distance until the next holiday?
See, it’s hard for me to understand the true meaning of family because of the ridiculous examples that I see in my own family on both my mom side and my dad side. Don’t get me wrong; I do love all of my family members. However, I find that we can be so very selfish and not put in more effort into spending more time with each other. We rather hold secrets from one another which doesn’t do anything except cause a wedge that’s hard to get rid of. We don’t know how to effectively communicate with each other and when I try to make an attempt at it, my efforts go unnoticed.
It’s a hard pill to swallow but I had to face the reality that my family on both sides are kinda segregated. We don’t love each other the way that we should and when we finally realize it, it’s too late. From what I’ve noticed, there are at least four reasons why my family (and many others) are segregated:
1. We only show our faces during funerals, holidays, and family reunions. Why wait until some dies to show your half-ass attempt of loving your family? Why wait until you see someone’s lifeless body laying in a box to wanna show that person some love and respect? If you didn’t love or respect that person while they were here on earth, save your crocodile tears for someone else. Stop waiting until you get to a funeral to then realize that “life is too short” and talk about what you should’ve, could’ve and would’ve done while the person was alive. Furthermore, the holidays are meant for you to spend with people that you love and cherish. So with that being said, don’t show your face at someone’s house on the holidays when you know damn well that you can’t stand that person. We all know that you just there came to eat the food. The sad part is that the food was prepared by the person that you dislike. And as far as family reunions, they only happen once a year or once every other year. If you only show your love during that ONE occasion, you need to stay home and stop frontin’.
2. Family secrets. They are the kiss of death when it comes to family. A lot of family issues don’t get resolved because when people say that they wanna “keep it in the family”, what they are really saying is that only one or two people should know what’s going on. People don’t realize that when a family member has screwed up, that’s the time when everyone is supposed to come together and help that person get their life together. Having a healthy family support system is very important and so when you have a couple of individuals that wanna keep family secrets, it becomes damn near impossible to break generational curses because no one is wise enough to talk things out in order to get to the root of the problem. Translation: Stop being so tight-lipped.
3. Gossip. Although we need to come together as a family when there are problems, we need to learn to stop gossiping about each other as well. There’s enough gossip in the media to entertain us and we need to keep it there…not in the family. Sometimes it’s hard to open up to a family member when you know that all they’re gonna do is get on the phone and tell all of your business to the next family member that is willing to give that person a lending ear. This is very common with the elders in the family that are always looking to get into somebody’s business, like busy bodies.
4. Grudges. We say that we have forgiven someone but yet every time that “one person” enters the room, we burn with anger. This can effect the entire family because they can feel how thick the tension is when you two are around each other. And with a tremendous amount of tension in the room, nobody can really have a great time at the family function because they’re afraid that at any moment, somebody’s gonna flip out. Understand something; people are not perfect. If the problem can be fixed, do just that and move on.
5. Cliques. We have all been in high school where you had a couple of cliques around the school; the geeks hung with the geeks, the pretty girls hung with the pretty girls, and the corny people hung with the corny people. It may not have been right but that’s how high school was. But creating a clique within the family should NEVER exist. Yes, it will make sense to hang with the relatives that are your age. But the problem is that we tend to act like other people in the family don’t exist and we only want to have relationships with people that we have known for a while. We don’t wanna develop a relationship with so-and-so because we don’t know them well and so therefore, we destroy relationships before they even have a chance to form.
6. Bad Communication. When I was studying communication in college, I learned that not a day goes by when you are not communicating. Even when you are silent, you are still communicating. Many families (such as mine) have absolutely no idea how to effectively communicate with each other. Instead of sitting down and talking things out like adults, we have screaming matches that’s filled with a bunch of name-calling, obscenities, and back-biting. This problem can be an easy one to fix just as long as people in the family will learn to put the childish attitudes aside and learn to LISTEN. When people learn how to listen, that can prevent a problem from growing into a serious issue that can take years to correct. Translation: Learn how to talk to one another.
In a nutshell, don’t wait until a holiday, a birthday party, or the death of a loved one to show your love to those that you are supposed to love. Learn to love everyday and let everyday be Thanksgiving. Don’t wait until you’re ninety-years old with no teeth to wanna “work things out”. Show everyone immediately how important they are to you. It’s not about being needy but sometimes a person wants to feel wanted. Men say this all the time about women. They don’t like to be with a woman that acts like they are not needed. They want to know that they are an important factor in a woman’s life. Use that same principle when it comes to dealing with your family. Show them how much they mean to you and that they are needed in your life. Let your guard down and love them the same way that you wanna be loved. Believe me, it will make a huge difference. And you don’t have to wait until someone cooks a turkey in order to do this.
Copyright © 2013 by Sonica Jackson
***The views and opinions expressed here on my website are solely those of myself and do not in any way represent the views and opinions of WordPress or anyone else.