Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Ohana" means "Family"

My husband and I talk a lot about the future, especially where it involves our future children. We know that we both come from different families and were raised very differently in many ways. We also come from separate parts of the generation - far enough apart and different enough that some sociologists are even separating my part of the generation from his when they talk about how we will be affecting the world in the next 30 years. Despite all of our similarities, we're very different, and so we know that it's important for us to talk and come to common ground on things - before they come up.

We also both come from broken families. Our parents did their best, but because our families were broken there are a lot of things about our childhood, our lives in general, that we want to engineer differently for our own children. And so we talk.

In fact, our children are probably the topic of at least 70% of our conversation. We talk about how we'll raise them, about what we want them to believe about the world and themselves and God and how we're going to teach them these things. We talk about the mindsets we want to teach them, the ways we want them to learn to handle the challenges of life, and how we'll foster a sense of trust in us without promoting weak character.

We ask ourselves a lot of questions. How do we pass on our belief that they are filled with amazing potential but avoid creating a sense that their potential entitles them to things they haven't earned? How do we balance teaching them to march to the beat of a different drum, to not just go with the crowd, but still foster a sense of respect and trust for authority and for those who have walked the path ahead of them? What do we do to teach them an entrepreneurial mindset that will help them create for themselves the best opportunities?

Will they be sports kids? Music kids?

One of the topics that comes up a lot in relation to our children is family. We've done a lot of talking around the questions of what it really means - to us - to be a family, and how we'll teach that to our kids.

The interesting thing, is that we both agree 100% with no compromise or changed perspectives, on what kind of family we want to be. Perhaps even more interesting is that it's not the kind of family either of us grew up in.

I watched Lilo and Stitch the other day - you know, that Disney movie about the alien. It's a story of family, threaded with examples of how - no matter how difficult it may be sometimes - family stands up for each other. In this movie you see over and over how the little family, broken as they are, finds a way to overcome things together.

Togetherness is a big part of family.

To us, family is more than just the people you share your home with. It's more than the people you shared your childhood with, or who is related to you by bloodlines. To us family is a team, sometimes a war machine, sometimes the most enthusiastic cheering section in existence. They're the people you can trust to be on your side and at your back no matter what.

Family is who you turn to with your victories, knowing they will always celebrate you. They are also who you turn to with your challenges and even your defeats, knowing they will help and uplift you. Family sticks together, stands up for each other, supports each other, and shares the load. We help each other be stronger and better. We protect each other. We're a personal army, always ready to stand and defend each other.

We know that sometimes this will mean we'll be in the Principal's office with one of our children, who started whaling on the kid who upset their sibling. After all, teaching a little one that they're part of a unit who defends and protects each other means that sometimes they will go a little overboard. But that's the kind of family we want to build.

Family believes in you, and your dreams, even if they don't agree with you. For example, my husband hates sports and I'm no good at them. But we know that if we have a child who somehow falls in love with Basketball, we'll be in the driveway or at the gym with that child every day helping them to practice. We'll hire someone who can teach what we can't, which will be just about everything. We'll do everything in our power to help that kid be the best they can be in their area of passion - even if we inwardly think it's pretty stupid. And if the best way we can help that kid achieve his or her goals is to make sure they always have a drill partner, then the family will take turns doing drills together. Because that's what family does.

As in everything, there's a balance in family. Family always supports you, and they're always the ones you can rely on to go to the craziest lengths for you. But the flip side of that, is that family will never ask you to sacrifice your dreams and potential for them. Family are the ones you can count on to cross the world to help you out or support you, but the other side of that is that as family you never demand of each other something that conflicts with their life goals or puts their smaller family unit in danger. You ask for the support, because you know your most trustworthy and reliable teammates are going to come from your family. But you don't make them feel badly if they aren't able to do what you're asking.

However, even if they can't help in the way you ask for, family always finds a way to help.

Together we're stronger. That's family.
In hard times or when something needs to get done, family is the team you rely on. They pull together and pull through. Each person's talents are unique and important. We are all better because of each member of our family. We all do better, go farther, and achieve more when family is on our side.

In the good times  family is the group you celebrate with, train with, study with. They're your running mates, your biggest supporters, the first ones to tell you when you've done a good job.

Family is where you want to be because you know that you belong there, because they've made room for you, because you're a part of their team and they're a part of yours.

Family backs you, takes risks for you, stretches farther for you, and you do the same for them.

Family will throw you the biggest victory parties, and will always be proud that you're a member of the family.

Family is your mastermind group, your inner circle, your training team. And you are theirs. Members of a family know they can count on each other, can trust each other. You're always safe in your family, always wanted and accepted, always loved. There's not a question. It just is.

Every member of the family is vitally important to the success of the family and of it's individual members. It's simple when you think about it. It's family.

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