7 Values My Family Has Taught Me About Love

Chris McQueen

It's okay to cry in front of your family

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My past 22 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a caring and loving family.

In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche got it right. We need a working family, without squeaks, broken walls and lack of music.

Here are 7 ways my family has bound us together like cement.

1. The dinner table is for talking things over

Our busy lives have made it hard to find time to eat dinner together. Ever since I can remember, we had at least one meal a day as a family.

Even though we were off at athletics, basketball, piano practice, band practice, ballet, horse riding or other activities, we managed to make time for at least 30 minutes at dinnertime.

This half an hour was very precious. We could pour out our hearts to each other Our time around the table is used as a platform to offload, receive support and understand others.

This form of love was so pure I came to expect it of every family I visited. Not so. Many families weren’t keen to make the extra effort. Often this resulted in their children drifting apart from their parents and losing touch.

“Family gives you the roots to stand tall and strong.”-Anonymous

My family has given me this solid foundation. I have been securely rooted and have been able to grow emotionally and physically.

I look forward to our dinner time conversations. It’s the glue holding us together in these rough times.

2. Remember your p’s and q’s

Mum and dad often reprimanded us if we didn’t say please or thank you. We heard it so often it became a habit. This habit stuck for a lifetime.

As my mum is half British, she must still have some victorian blood running in her veins. Our household reflects the manner and behaviour of the British people.

These simple phrases of gratitude were often praised. If we visited friends and neighbours, they would often compliment our parents on bringing us up with good manners.

It was the love we shared around that enabled us to be grateful. Gratitude will get you further in life than all other negativity.

3. Older people were also young

When we talk to older people, it can seem hard to relate to them. But the elderly of today were once full of energy and vigour many years ago.

This fundamental insight I’ve learnt to appreciate through the love my family shows me on a day to day basis. There is no shame in talking to those older than you.

You can learn a lot from the former generation. Their life stories will blow you away. So I’ve tried to make an effort and find out more about those people, we won’t have around us for much longer.

They show the same love and affection. They were kids, teenagers and adults. And they also married and travelled.

We can learn a lot from those who survived the war. They are a dying generation. Will we be able to capture their stories before it’s too late?

4. Sharing is caring

Have you ever fought over the last piece of chocolate, a teddy bear or a barbie doll with your siblings?

Growing up with two sisters, I often wouldn’t want to share. When I got chocolate or other sweets I’d hide them in my room, away from anybody’s view.

Over these past 22 years of my life, I’ve realised how foolish I truly was. When you share what you have with others, you experience great joy. I’ve learnt to share and care for others.

This act of sharing is not limited to physical objects. Learning to share my story and experiences around the dinner table has let my family into my life.

When you share, others will care. If you bottle up your feelings, no one has the opportunity to care for you.

5. It’s okay to cry in front of your family

You might be carrying emotional baggage around with you. I’ve been blessed with a family that will allow me to offload this baggage. This might involve shedding a tear in front of your family.

That’s okay. You’re human.

When you elaborate on your point and express your feelings to your family, a new trust level is built. You can count on them in times of trouble. Likewise, they can count on you.

Men are allowed to be soft, tender and sensitive. The only men to be tough and entirely emotionless appear in fairy tales and fiction books. Your ability to open up to your family in an emotional way will open doors way after you’ve moved out.

6. A joy shared is a joy doubled

All-time highs often follow tough times. When you experience such joy, take the time to share it with your family. (around dinner?)

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow. ”

I’ve been through tough times and good times. Our family has celebrated both joy and sadness. Feeling moral and emotional support from your family is fantastic. It gives you security when the rest of your life is falling apart.

Your family members can be the most caring. They will be happy for you. Consider taking out some time to celebrate with your family.

7. Use second glue to stick together

When kids grow into teenagers, and then adults, the with for freedom grows stronger by the month. Sooner or later, young adults like myself will yearn to leave the nest and finally fly.

This makes it even more essential to find some glue that will never come apart. Find your second glue.

For us, it is our faith. Our shared belief gives us hope beyond this life and unifies us around Gods word. Should one of us depart, we know it’s not forever.

Your glue might be different. But it is crucial to seek it out, apply it and stick to it. Be it meditation or other spiritual rituals, find your hope and make it stick.

Wrapping it up

Your family will always be in your life. Unlike your friends, you’re stuck with your family.

Seize this opportunity to talk things over and bond with the people that love you most.

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