“We are family, I got all my sisters with me! We are family! Get up, everybody, and sing!”
If you know me at all, you know that I come from an extremely tight-knit family. We kind of love each other a whole lot. 🙂 As an adult, I have more and more of an appreciation for this closeness. I have figured out that it isn’t just luck; closeness was born out of parents who diligently taught and showed us the importance of family. As I sit back and reflect on my childhood, I try to highlight the little things my parents did to instill these values in us.
Here are a few things I am striving to do with my kiddos to hopefully pass on this beautiful gift of family on to them. (Please know that I don’t write this post out of pride but just to share my reflections on why we have been able to stay close!)
You are your sisters’/brothers’ keeper. No one – not even the coolest, best, most popular friend – can ever come between this. If someone is dumb enough to speak ill of your sibling to you, shut it down. Have your sibling’s back. Even if the person has a point, be loyal. Loyalty is ABSOLUTELY necessary for a tight-knit family.
Be open. If you really want to know each other, privacy is for the birds! Don’t embarass each other, but be candid in your conversations. And peeing with the door open can really take your closeness up a notch. NO LIE. 🙂
Fight. Fighting is essential to a tight-knit family. No, not the deep, hurtful, mean and nasty fighting. But the kind that drives you closer – the kind that leaves you with hilarious memories. Like the time I was totally pissed at my sister for wearing my new shirt, or the time she ratted me out for sneaking out of the house. Or the raw honesty that kind of stings when your sibling tells you you’re wrong and it takes about 3.4 seconds of anger towards her before you know she is exactly right. Or how about the time my poor father had to rip me off my sister (Sara) as we were both buck naked brawling on the bathroom floor because she threw a pillow at me mid eyelash curling and ripped out a good portion of my eyelashes. I am pretty sure he saved her life that day! LOL! Those are the types of fights that drive you closer.
Vacation together. Take family vacations and keep it to your immediate family. No, not every single vacation your go on, but teach your kiddos to play with each other. Teach them to like each other. Teach them to be creative together! Teach them the value of time away from the hustle and bustle of life together! Basically, make memories together.
Do projects together. My DIY sickness was definitely born from a family that did not/does not hire any work done. We always had a project going when we younger, and we were always expected to be a part. I remember shoveling rock for the landscaping at our house. I remember thinking my dad was slave driving us. But by the end of the day, I was pretty darn proud of our accomplishment! I can still tell you the proper way to get the most rock on your shovel, thanks to my dad (and YES, girls can absolutely do outside “man” work)! We always ended up having a lot of fun in the process of the projects.
Love the extended. My parents showed me this in a HUGE way growing up. We drove all over Iowa to attend my cousins’ sports games. My parents still try to make it to my younger cousins’ activities. What an awesome way to instill family values in your children. Include the grandparents. My grandma passed away when I was in 5th grade, yet I have soooo many great memories of her. My dad chose to stay in Des Moines for work (even though moving might have meant more $$ or more opportunity) so that we could grow up knowing our grandparents and extended family! I can’t say enough how thankful I am for this decision!
Go to church together. Faith has always been such a HUGE part of my family. We truly are united in Christ, which trumps every other item on this list. Thank You, Jesus, for blessing me with parents who taught us to love You and to love others like You did!
Do life together. Share each other’s victories and share each other’s burdens. Root for each other! Feel their disappointment and hurt when life is hard, and rejoice together in the good moments.
I am beyond thankful for my tight-knit family, and I pray that I can continue this legacy in my children.