The family as a front
We lay emphasis on family relationship because we rightly recognise that we as individuals come into the society through our families. The family gives us identity and even a space to begin our sojourn in this universe. It is back to home the child goes to lick his wound when all falls down.
It becomes a cause for concern, therefore, when we hear that the entity that is the family network is threatened. Of course we understand that the above statement is not an exaggeration, because we do see or meet people who have been so disappointed from their point of origin that they resolve never to have anything to do with their immediate or extended families – yet they raise their own families!
In this New Year, let us see how we can make better relationship with our family members. As someone pointed out, the family is a miniature of the entire universe, what you see there, the type of people you have, both good and bad, are nearer, if not the typical example of the people you or your children would likely meet outside your home environment. Like your little boy or girl looking amused when they meet a total stranger. At that first glance, they have been able to decide that his behaviour is similar to that of Uncle Timmy who you all know as “unserious” and bent a bit to the criminal side. Rather than fall a prey, your little ones dismiss him with a chuckle.
At one seminar on how to improve the prospect of the Nigerian family sometime ago, officials of the social welfare sounded the warning that not only were family values being eroded, that it could get to the point where the elderly are abandoned by families and worse was that there were no old people’s homes to care for them. Since this warning, the observation should be that things are not as gloomy as predicted, not yet.
The general economic situation is not helping the situation but it can be said that the older ones are striving to take care of themselves, trying not to be a burden. You see them engaging in petty trading. I read about an 80-year-old who still engages in his hawking business. His children were grown and taking care of him, but he could not sit back and rot away, not when his limbs are still functioning well.Your brothers, sisters, nephews, cousins and step- children are part of this strong network that should make your children feel safe and secure.
And the family gets better today because that gap between the old and new is closing up. For example, grandma and grandpa can wear jeans and grandma still wears high heels. Both grandparents surf the net and use computer language so that they are never at a loss what to discuss with your seven-year-old, and what grandparents do not know, your son would gladly teach.
This New Year, try to reach out more to your relatives. The trick is to know just how much you are able to give and stay firm when they ask too much of you. The family when it functions well should be a source of emotional support and gives the feeling that you can fight any battle and win.
“It is not always so”, a friend blurted out. “Just recently, I told myself I was done with my brother because anytime he called; it was to ask for money. When he gets it he disappears completely until he is hard-up again.
“Over the years, I have never seen anything of my brother’s money. But just as I was making the resolution, I looked back in time. We lost our mother very early; I was barley one year and my brother five. But he already knew how to bathe my older sister and I. When I could not walk; he carried me on his shoulders. He knew when to give us cod liver oil and use cotton bud to clean my ears. How would I ever forget this? This New Year, I am praying that my financial standing improves so I can accommodate my brother.
It Is What You Give Too
Appreciate your siblings and acknowledge that they are part of your life. We may not have felt the impact yet, but the truth is that the size of the family is shrinking. We are having less number of children; happily we agreed when a government suggested the idea that the ideal number of children in the Nigerian family should not be more than four. But with the unstable state of the economy, you could expect to have two. We are marrying much later because we want to give the best care, which takes money. With the downsizing, many of us are accommodating siblings.
But that has its downside, too, says someone. There is that tendency for a relative to sell his love for money.One man assumed that he has every right to his brother’s money and would go there to make noise at the gate until he was given any amount he claimed was for rent due or any expenses. The brother has not rejected him although the workers knew not to let the man in when his rich brother travelled. Be firm with them; find a way to ensure that the difficult ones did not upset you. If you don’t learn to handle them, it could be difficult to survive in the outside world.
Friends Are Part Of It
Many parents have at one time or the other turned to friends when family is not near to lend a helping hand. Although friends cannot replace family, but they have helped you to take care of your child, comforted you when you feel overwhelmed, given you a good advice.
And if it makes you feel better or feel anxious, you the family is the one your relative will always think about when he needs money. If you were in his shoes you would think of going to him when you have financial difficulties. The family is there to reassure us that no matter what happens that we are not alone. Do your best, it is the only place you can be you.
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