Before you start to judge what a utopian world I must live in, please consider this:
Glue holds things together, but it can also be messy. So it also goes with families.
I was going to say there isn’t any perfect family as people portray on television or the movies. However, with the shows on anymore, you would be hard pressed to find one that is not over the top dysfunctional. When did dysfunctional become the new normal? As a realist, I understand that there is dysfunction of some type in nearly every family. Perhaps because we all perceive what “normal” is a little differently than each other. The shows over the last ten years or so have portrayed “normal families” as drug dealing, spouse cheating, murdering….well you get where I’m going.
Unfortunately, some of this does go on in the real world. (If we’re actually in the real world anymore.) I don’t believe it’s the norm, but I do think people can become desensitized to all of it.
If you grew up like me, you would occasionally go see a scary movie with your family that had vampires, sharks, or ghosts, etc. when you were a young teenager. You would sit there, tensing up, knowing that something was going to happen at any moment. As you tensed up as tight as a rubber band and couldn’t take it anymore, you squeezed your eyes shut, so you wouldn’t have to see it. But you didn’t hear anything and started to open them then wham! there it was, the scary scene you knew was coming but didn’t want to see. Maybe you let loose a little scream? Later everyone talked about the movie, perhaps had a late dinner and headed home. And then you had to go to bed. Remember those days? You went into your bedroom, flipped on the light switch and began to assess the windows in your room in direct relationship to your bed. High enough up, you should be okay. Wait, can’t vampires fly? Now your family is yelling from downstairs because they hear you dragging your bed across the floor to the middle of the room….away from windows that may have easy access for a vampire or two.
You are now in bed with eyes wide open, wanting to look out the window to be sure everything is okay, but knowing you may see a face or bat in the window and you’d come unhinged. This would go on for what seemed like an eternity when in reality it was probably only minutes. Finally, you work up the courage to go downstairs to sit with your family for a while. Your mother may have said something like, “I told you we shouldn’t have taken her to that scary movie. She can’t sleep now”. You might have protested with, “I’m not afraid, I think it was something I ate.” After sitting with your family (and talking about everything except that scary movie) you feel better and are able to finally go to bed.
It was comforting to be with my family after something frightened me. You could argue they took me to the movie in the first place, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It helped me to address fears, making me a stronger person.
Everything doesn’t have to be all vampires and ghosts though. For example, the photo is from a family outing for the 4th of July. A wonderful day spent together that started with a parade early in the morning. The remainder of the day was spent together doing various things and making memories. As the day started to wind down, a picnic dinner was packed and put in the back of the pick up truck, along with lawn chairs and blankets. We drove out to where we would have a good view of the fireworks, parked, and unloaded the truck. Then the pesky bees came. The kids were running in circles and trying to keep them at bay. Figuratively waiving a white flag, and making a bee-line toward the truck (couldn’t help myself), everyone found a seat to wait it out. Once the sun was setting and the bees flew home for the night, we slathered ourselves with bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away and headed back to our “perfect” picnic spot. The fireworks were fantastic and everyone had a great time….eventually.
Sometimes expectations can lead to being disillusioned when things don’t go exactly as planned. The point is take time to be with family. Share the good, the bad, and the sometimes scary days. Every day can’t be sunshine and picnics, but we can make a difference in each other’s lives. When children receive these messages, they understand that most things are only temporary and the next day it will be a memory. If it still isn’t a memory and something they need to deal with another day, they will have the courage and hopefully a family support system to help them get through it.
As human beings, we need each other. We’re wired that way. Coming from a strong family unit can add to great leadership and empathy skills. We learn by doing. Watching an old TV show or movie with real values once in a while doesn’t hurt either. Less people should want to emulate things/people that can/have hurt others. More people should be encouraged to do what’s right, even if it isn’t the hippest, coolest, most popular thing to do. In the end, we are always responsible for ourselves.