Ten Things About My Family That I Love
1. Love-There is no relationship between human beings without the existence of genuine love. Love is not something that we speak but something that one consistently shows to another without conditions. It is not hearts and rainbows that fill the morning the air or sweet nothings spoken in the mist of the night. Love is the ability to show that God lives within your heart to others by doing for each other without expecting something in return. It is the ability to provide for others and being satisfied that you have done God’s work without Him having to ask you to do so. My family understands every sentiment of love. Without hesitation they will sacrifice their own so that the other can have. No one has to ask for help because everyone is asking everyone else if they need help. They are selfless beings that not only look out for those with whom they share blood but to others who are in need. In the words of one of them, “I do not need food, for I have Jesus.”
2. Beauty-The definition of beauty is not scarless faces and bountiful gowns and tuxedos that impress the masses. Beauty is being able to look at each other and have an appreciation for each others inherited high cheekbones, curly hair, big lips, big hips, brown eyes, green eyes, dark skin, light skin, flat feet, high arches, pointy noses, flat noses, petite frames, full figured frames, muscled frames, short frames and tall frames. Beauty understands that all of our physical attributes have been inherited by our forefathers and mothers who taught us to love each other despite what we look like. My family is a concoction of races, hairstyles, facial features and body builds and we see the beauty in each other.
3. Cohesiveness-Family does not exist without cohesion. Cohesion builds love. Cohesion allows a family to understand that everyone may not always agree with each other but we can be patient enough to hear each other out and come to an intelligent decision concerning familial issues. Everyone is included and handled in a democratic fashion so that in the end everyone is satisfied. No one vote is more important than the other and no idea is considered less intelligent than the other. My family has the uncanny ability of making informed decisions without anger or malice and in the end peace always avails.
4. Spirituality-Without one’s body the only thing that exists is spirit. One’s spirit is the element in his or her life that allows them to think beyond the flesh. Flesh will often make one selfish, self-determinant, and unwilling to work with others. But, it is one’s spirit that will look beyond his or her own selfish needs and put those needs on hold for the needs of others. My family is able to tap into its spirit at all times. They are not boastful and they are not unkind because it is their spirits that lead them in making most decisions, familial, personal and professional. Their spirits is what makes them altruistic leaders who can also be dynamic followers because life is not a show for them, but a spiritual journey that will lead to a heavenly reward.
5. Dependability-The cliché’ goes, “a man’s word is his bond.” If family is not able to depend on each other, especially in times of need, there is no family. My family can depend on each other to be there when one calls, they can depend on the fact that they will give without recognition, they can depend that each other’s love is infinite and they can depend on each other’s shoulders when they need to cry.
6. Ability to Pray-Many may have predicted what I am about to say, and unfortunately you do not have ESP, but you do have the ability to deduct and reason. And, your reasoning is correct because I will say what you have expected me to say, “a family that prays together stays together.” Knowing my family you have a true understanding that we are bound forever because with every step someone is asked to pray. We pray to begin meetings, we pray to end them, we pray to drive locally, we pray to drive long distance, we pray when a baby is born and we pray we bury those who pass, we pray upon meeting and we pray upon departure. WE…PRAY!
7. Mentorship-We often look for mentors in our teachers, in our religious colleagues and in our work places. In my family we mentor each other. The older ones allow the younger ones to stay for summers, the elders lead discussions for the middle aged, and the younger ones often discipline the babies. In my family mentorship is the very thing that enables us to be successful individuals without professional or economic limitations. We take each other under our wings and we show each other how to fly until we can fly on our own. And, often, the sky is not even our limit.
8. Value our Past-The Bible has a scripture that says, “Do This in Remembrance of Me.” We remember our forefathers and mothers and those who have passed onto the spiritual world and although remembering may fester feelings of hurt and anxiety we heal through and with each other. Without remembering those who came before us we will never truly grasp who we are in the present neither who we will become in the future. We value the concept of Sankofa, which means, “go back and get it.” We often go back and get all of the love, the beauty, the prayers, and the teachings of those who have transitioned before us for without them there is no us and without us there will be no future.
9. Good Food-The concept of family sharing stories over food cooked with love and soul has been a tradition for centuries. Our ancestors of West Africa who would cook over fire and tell stories to the children to educate them about life and God are traditions we still practice today. And, the best food is the food we cook together. Laughter and seasoning can produce some of the best meals anyone can eat. My family does not just pray for the nourishment of their physical bodies when they pray over meals prepared with love but we ask for the nourishment of our spirits so that we can be more God-like as we walk this Earthly life before we pass onto to our spiritual lives. We have learned that we must not only think about the health of the flesh, but the health of spirit.
10. Firm Foundations-When a builder builds a home before he can begin building the bedrooms, or the kitchen, or the living room, or bathroom, he must begin with a very firm foundation. A foundation that will withstand the storm. For it is the foundation that will keep a home strong for years to come. My family was built on a foundation so firm, so strong, and so resilient that we have kept our bond for centuries. Families are much like houses. For a family built like many of the foundations of new homes today without the proper construction often fall after a short time. But, a family built on the foundations of home still standing today that were built in the 17, 18, and early 1900’s have survived the test of time. My family was built on the very premise as those homes constructed in early 17 and 1800’s. We have survived the test of storms so great many would be amazed that we still stand. Yes, we’ve had to concrete some cracks, paint some walls, retile the floors, put on a new roof every now and again but the foundation is still there.
I often ask myself why did God give me this family to be born in. Why was I a part of a long line of outstanding, loving and courageous people? Why did I get the chance to take advantage of all the greatness that is my family? And, the only answer that I can come up with is that he knew I would be great and therefore had to give a family that fit my own greatness.
And, I do not say that with pride and boastfulness, but with a humility that understands that all spiritual beings should be privy to this same greatness. And, as I enter another decade of my life and I’ve reached a point to where I understand all of this I do humbly thank the Creator every day of my life of making me great and the product of such greatness.
J. Prince, Princepality 69