This I Believe

Ashley - Lynchburg, Virginia
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, love
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This I Believe: Family Is More than Just a Bunch of Relatives

I believe that family it one of the single most important things in life. I also believe that the family you are born into may not be your true family. A true family is people who love you no matter what. They are your support system, the ones you know you can count on no matter what. They are the ones you turn to both when you succeed and when you fail because you know they will still love you either way. They are the ones who care about you and stick up for you; you know they have your back, no questions asked. I believe that I was not born in to my true family.

I say this because my blood family is nothing close to what I described a true family to be. I have an amazing relationship with my parents, younger brother, and maternal grandparents, but the rest of my extended family is basically non-existent to me.

I am very grateful for the positive relationships I have with those certain members of my family, but I have always wished that the rest of my family did was not so torn apart. It may sound silly to those who come from extremely broken homes, but it is still something that is difficult for me. My entire family: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, we all live within nine miles of one another, yet we do not exist to one another except for those awkward holiday dinners. They are basically strangers, and they hardly fit the description of what I described a family to be earlier.

When I think of my family, I prefer to think of my friends and my church family. They are the ones I know I can turn to when I am having a problem. They are the ones who are always there for me no matter what. I do not have to be afraid that they will judge me or turn their backs on me. I have a much stronger bond with them than I do my relatives. Most of my friends’ parents have known me since I was little, and I consider their opinions to be just as important as my own parent’s opinions. They support and love me, but they also care enough about me to call me out if I am doing something wrong. The relationships I that I have with my friends and church family are important and are such a huge part of my life. I do not know where I would be without them.

Growing up with the kind of family that I did, I know now how important it is to have some strong sense of family, even if it does not come from your own. With that understanding, I now know what kind of thing I will teach my children about family. Though hopefully, they will have a healthy and loving extended family, I also want to encourage family-like relationships with their friends and church family. I pray that they will be able to experience the bets of both those worlds.