“Your family is great”.

“Your family is great”.

Yes, they are. With such a large sample size (35) you would expect a bad apple – but we don’t have one. Wait, unless it’s me.

Anyway, usually when people say your family is great, they are referring to tightness of relationship I have with my siblings. We are close and they are awesome. Hella & Lucas.

Note: Some of you have families that are horrible: abuse, neglect, bullying, stealing. Some of you have families that are awful: strong differences, disinterest, dismissive of one another. Some of your families have had or are having seasons of broken relationships. Some of you have families that are distant. Some of you have lost loved ones. I’m so sorry for your situation.
I know I’m naive about the wonder and delight of my good family situations. 

Our current living situation has my siblings and I living next door to each other. There’s a lot of intentional and unintentional contact: I wander over to receive fresh coffee grounds from Lucas, I pop downstairs to use Hella’s washing machine. But so far it’s been manageable.

Here are four solid reasons for our relationship.

1. Likeable
We are mostly likeable and share many common interests (there is some nurture in this, we were all exposed to mostly the same things – not a surprise we all love books; deconstruction; language; improving life, quotes, meaningful television).

2. Model
Our parents owned and modelled the importance of family. Everyone was responsible in caring for the family and everyone was expected to treat each other with kindness. Rather than pocket money we had a complex system of red dots (stickers).
For example: you received 2 red dots if your jobs were done by 4pm each Sunday, but you could receive up to 5 red dots for doing other unsolicited and unrecognised jobs. You could trade 5 red dots for a movie ticket, or 7 red dots to take your siblings to the movies.

They showed, encouraged and directed us to love each other.

3. Invest

It wasn’t just loving each other. We decided sibling relationships were important. The significant factors for us were:

A – seeing how our parents were sad about the relationship with their siblings (No one was evil, or saying ‘I hate you and will convince Dad to cut you out of the will’: but they would have valued stronger relationships) and

B – both our parents were very sick for the same few months. It seemed to us that you could only rely on your immediate family.

4. Distrust
We take a long time to trust and build relationship. Honestly once you know us for a few years, we’ll let you see us. We are wimps – and choose not to invest in other people.

And that is part of why we managed to make it through our pubescent hatred of each other to be friends as adults. We have common interests and we work hard to like and love each other (because liking and loving someone else would be too hard).

My sibs are indeed a blessing. Love you!

Yes, my family is great. Some families are not.

If you want a closer relationship with family, try to invest.
Organise some common interests.
Intentionally have some one on one conversations as well as larger groups.
Recognise it may not happen.

If you don’t want a closer relationship with your family – would it be beneficial for them if you were? Maybe try to make the effort.

Don’t want a closer relationship with family? – pick some friends around the same generation as your family and invest in them. Meaningful relationships with a range of generations will grow and change you for the better.

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