The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Challenge of the Week: Learn From Your Family or Teach Your Family Something New
When I was younger and family dinner actually existed, we were not allowed to leave the dinner table until we shared our day with everyone at the table. We would have to say what we did, what we talked about, what we learned, who made us happy or sad, and if there were any issues, what we can and should do to resolve them. This was the routine of our family for many years throughout elementary school. Not only did the children have to recite their day, but the parents had to tell everyone about their day as well. Later in life, my parents would divorce, and this would all become ancient history. However, when I think back on this specific time period, as much as I found it redundant and hated reciting my day to my family, it was one of the more happier times in my life.
While I cannot remember every individual story told by my sibling or parents, there were some moments that were acknowledged and probably helped me in my own situations, from finding humor and outlets in our stresses of everyday life, to dealing with people, as my parents had bosses and co-workers they had to deal with, as I do now. What is a job to a kid anyway? What does a boss even do? This stuff seems so unimportant to a child, yet with it carried so many lessons that I had yet to understand.
The communication of my family was ever-present and before I would sleep, my dad would often come into my room, sit on my bed, and talk to me about his life, about my life, about family life, trying to understand himself and really just relaying information on to me that he probably did not feel comfortable doing with anyone else. Although I understood what he was saying, these talks wouldn’t resolve until much later. These talks most likely helped me later in life, simply because I would later understand that at almost any stage of life: we are always trying to understand what we should do, questioning whether we are in the right place, or what we are doing is right in our lives.
Nowadays, while I know I should call my family more, I call my mother and father at least twice a week to check up on them. They raised me and were my parents, and while I am completely independent and have not asked for any help from them in years, they are still, and always will be my parents. However, as an adult, they are not just my parents, but they are my friends. They knew me as their child and they know me as an adult. They may not know every aspect of my life, but when I do need a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, or sometimes a need to vent, I know I can always call my mom or dad on the phone, and talk to them. I have a different relationship with each parent, though I try to keep them both in the loop when it comes to my life. One day, I know this will no longer be an option and I certainly dread that day, and hope it does not come for many, many years from now. Sometimes, I am the wise man and they are the ones asking me for advice. At times, I find myself saying the very things my dad used to talk to me about before I fell asleep.
I am very happy that I have both my parents, though both of them have gone through and survived life-threatening diseases. Every day that they wake up is truly a blessing. They both taught me the importance of family and communication. When it comes to communication and family, especially if you have children, it is important to teach them your wisdom. They may not understand it now, but there are phrases that you will say and things you will talk about that will never leave them. There are also many things they can learn from you and that you can learn from them. Be open to communicating, but more importantly, be open to listening and understanding each other.
We were born into our families or we made our families. It is one of the most important experiences in life to get to know your family. Eventually, everyone grows up and goes their separate ways, gets busy with life, and find themselves with barely any time, except for a few phone calls a week. Family most important part of your life. Love them, cherish them, honor them, communicate with them, and listen to them.
Your challenge this week is to be open to learning things from your family and letting them learn from you. You all have so much to teach each other and you have so much to learn from each other. Talk now and cherish every moment you get with your family, because one day, everyone will be grown up and living their own separate lives.