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Raymond Sheppard: Families matter, it’s in you to forgive

Photo Bob Brooks, NS Archives

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The holiday season is upon us once again, and with the Covid 19 pandemic it is a most difficult and challenging time. Families matter, regardless of the times we face. After all, the first friend one has is in the family, but it seems somehow that families matter less to some now than it did fifty years ago or back in the day. 

The definition of the word family can mean many things, from shared bloodlines, ancestry to a household made up of parents and children of those parents. There are many textbook definitions of family, from same sex family, single parent family, adoptive family and the list goes on especially where social, cultural and economic factors influence the structure of families.

Regardless of what is considered a family, I believe the central core values of all human families were meant to be around love, trust, understanding, support, protection, respect, consideration, honesty, appreciation, sharing, bonding, loyalty, honour, dependability, generosity, kindness, privacy, humility, spirituality, responsibility, integrity, traditions, acceptance, unity and harmony.

It seems nowadays some families are in turmoil where some individuals stop speaking for years, leave home to never return, physically fight, bully, slander one another, do not respect the opinion of other family members, curse parents and siblings, and bring out/show the green greed monster when a member of the family passes on, etc. 

It seems that families were closer knit back when than they are now. The ties than bond seem to have loosened somewhat. I am sure there are many many reasons for breakdowns in family relations including;

  1. Ineffective communication that breaks down trust,
  2. Patriarchs and matriarchs that have gone, 
  3. Safety issues,
  4. Mixed expectations and responsibilities, 
  5. Sexual preferences, 
  6. Abuse, Substance Abuse
  7. Misunderstanding, 
  8. Financial difficulties, 
  9. Not engaging in family gatherings, 
  10. Lack of respect for family values and traditions, 
  11. Toxic environments, 
  12. Death of parents, 
  13. Lack of leadership and or a struggle for leadership, 
  14. Jealousy, resentment, 
  15. Insecurity, etc.

I believe the golden rules that many were taught included, never to go to bed angry, always say you are sorry, take responsibility for your actions and never stay mad at a family member, to forgive, and never ever cross the line to raise ones hand to another family member, never hold grudges, never talk back to parents in a disrespectful manner and of course the list goes on. 

Covid-19 may be keeping us apart but it does not stop us from sealing the cracks in love.

What comes from the heart goes to the heart and yesterday’s gone, but tomorrow, although not promised, can be a new beginning to let the healing begin. 

So resurrect the divine gift of family love this holiday season. 

Reach out by any means necessary, duo, zoom, Google, Facebook, email, eext, a friend, cell phone, landline, letter, card, etc.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” –Desmond Tutu

Love, it’s in you to forgive. 

Peace be upon you!

Raymond Sheppard

See also: Raymond Sheppard: In praise of African Nova Scotian family values

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