From our first moments of life, as children we depend on parents and family to protect and provide us with our needs. Parents and family help form our first relationships and family is the single most important influence on a child’s life.
During my teenage years, through mistakes of my own, I put the support of my family to the test. Hanging around “friends” who were negative influences, performing poorly in school, and constant run ins with the police lead me down a dark road that would only get darker. Times like these are almost impossible to escape from without a strong support system and although that can come in many forms, mine came from my immediate family.
My family has been there for me in more ways than I can count. Help from family members can take many different forms and throughout my 27 years I’ve probably received all of them. Just to name a few there’s:
Emotional support: Sharing in joyous moments together and making us feel better. Like the picture above where my family and I treated my dad to a baseball game for Fathers Day.
Esteem support: During the years I was rebuilding my life, after poor decisions had landed me behind bars, I needed help to feel good about the progress I was making and I couldn’t have done that without the help of my family when I wasn’t doing well.
Network support: That “home sweet home” feeling. That sense of belonging is really important with families. Aside from it feeling amazing, it adds great peace of mind knowing you kind of have a home base, a place where you feel accepted and you belong, no matter what.
Informational support: This type of family support is one that I place in high regard. There are so many things we can learn from our parents or families guidance on how to do things that maybe were done by them or others. Sure, it’s good to get into the world and figure life out in your own way but in many cases it isn’t a bad idea to call a family member ask for an opinion, even if it’s one you don’t want to hear.
Tangible support: One aspect of support that goes overlooked is tangible support. Things like financial help or care packages/food from home. What college student can’t relate?
All of these means of support go a long way in the development of a person. Family support is one of those blessings in life that we feel entitled to have. It almost feels as though it’s our families job to be there for us, which it is. After all, they’re family, but that doesn’t mean it always is. Not everyone is so lucky to have a supportive family. For many people the closest people they have to a support system are their friends and many people don’t have anyone at all. Which would make these types of support extremely difficult or impossible to receive.
I didn’t always see the importance of a family support system though. Lord knows when I was growing up the last thing I was focused on was maintaining a relationship with my family. As a child we’re too young to possess a solid understanding of the roles our parents or family play in our lives. But as the years go by and we get older we realize just how important the support of our family truly is.
As a result of being on a dark path and not living my best life I had negatively changed our family dynamic and overall mood with each other. The repercussions of my poor decisions had placed a tremendous amount of stress on my mom and dad and set an even worse example for my younger sister. In the back of my mind, with time, I knew that one day we would go back to being the loving and joyful family we once were, but work had to be done. I realized I’m largely responsible for “damaging” our family, so I had to be big part of getting us back on track. After some time and placing conscious effort into bringing love and joy and back into our family we couldn’t be happier.
Not every family is super close, I get it, communication could be low, and relationships could be fading by the week. Whoever your support system is it requires nurturing. What it boils down to is if you’re unhappy with your families dynamic and maybe you wish your relationship with your family was different, take matters into your own hands. Of course, every family is different but if you fit into the shoes of someone that realizes the importance of a strong family I encourage you to be a leader in your family and nurture the dynamic you crave and watch how strong your support system can grow. Pick up the phone and check in with your family or whoever you consider to be your support system and plan a get together.
I’m not exactly where I want to be in life yet but I’m very much on track and wouldn’t be without the support of my family. Through the good and especially the bad, when I had no one else, I had my family. In my case, I had to go through many trials to realize what I had but you don’t have to.