I grew up firmly in the grasp of my mother’s extended family. We gathered monthly at the home of her grandmother or an aunt or uncle and the adults visited while the children played. We ate a hearty meal, laughed, told stories, and learned more about ourselves in the learning about each other. If my single mother ever needed help, her uncles, aunts, cousins, or siblings were there for us. I knew that I could call or ride my bike over and be assisted, welcomed, and loved. Family provides the best of safety nets, and society is benefited when families take care of each other. That is family capital. This month we have a wonderful selection of articles about experiences with families. Shelli takes us on a beautiful exploration of how memories and stories help us to find our “cohesive sense of self.” Norma shares some insight about how we cannot always tell the value of a life or an orange by what we see on the surface and encourages us to learn about and from our family history. Rebekah shares how her family dynamics have changed with the COVID-19 Pandemic as they’ve adjusted to their new normal. Michelle, our newest board member, writes for the first time for us with her positive outlook and encourages us to recognize the value of each person and family while Camilla shares how her success, and the success of society is really built on the support of families.
Additionally, this month, we are reporting on two of the relief efforts undertaken by Big Ocean Women during the COVID-19 crisis. Pat shares about the Navajo Nation relief project that was the combined effort of families, community groups, cottages, and donations, and Norma reports about the help Big Ocean Women provided to some families in South Sudan under the direction of the cottage president Tai.
No family is perfect, and no two families are exactly the same, but they do all provide a place for people to learn and to grow. Many people have to face trials because of the family into which they are born, but even the hard things can help strengthen individuals, and even bad examples can help us make decisions about the life and family we want to build in the future.
Even though I had a strong and loving extended family from my mother, growing up, I felt a need to know where I had come from and to know my father and his family. It was through contacting my father and asking him to take me to family reunions that I was able to find that missing part of myself and create loving and lasting bonds with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and father. I hope that we all can appreciate the value of family, and that if you do not have a loving and safe family now, that you can work to create a future where that will be your reality.