I have been asked to contribute a weekly column to our local newspaper, The Nebraska City Newspress, my goal is that people are reminded that they are loved, they are not alone, and that we can do positive things together as a community. Here is my second column, it’s called “We Are Family”.
We visited Arbor Lodge, Mayhew Cabin, Tree Adventure, the Lewis and Clark Center, our churches, ate at Runza, my wife’s grandmother and aunt even stayed at Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast. They got the full “Red to the Core” experience. It was such a blessing to have them here with us, even for a short time.
You see, the majority of my wife’s family lives in Oregon, the majority of my family lives in West Virginia. We only get a couple of short visits a year, if we’re lucky, for “Granny and Opa” time or “Grandma and Grandpa” time. What that means is my kids make due with Skype and phone calls from their grandparents and other relatives.
My wife and I moved here in part so our schedules would allow for more time as a family and we have achieved that, but what we miss out on is the time with our parents and brothers and sisters and that can be hard. We know that there many in Nebraska City who are lucky enough to have several generations nearby, with aunts and uncles and cousins that can be seen regularly, if not daily.
For those who are blessed to have that close proximity with your family, for those that are estranged from their family for whatever reason, or for those where proximity is a problem, you are not alone. We as a community can be the surrogate family that people of all ages need.
Studies have shown that having intergenerational relationships is vital to growth of children. Right now, my children are lucky to have surrogate cousins, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandpas in town to love them, teach them, and help them grow.
One of the things that is always celebrated about our little town is its sense of community. Yet, there are still people here in need of those kinds of familial relationships that have nurtured so many of us.
There are grandmas and grandpas in need of adopted grandkids, aunts and uncles in need of adopted nieces and nephews, parents in need of adopted parents, cousins in need of adopted cousins, brother and sisters in need of adopted brothers and sisters, basically we need each other.
If you see someone in need, a parent whose kids seem out of control at the store or a child who seems lost, instead of sitting back worrying about “kids these days”, go and ask them if they need some help. If you’re a parent who knows there are older people in our community who feel abandoned and alone, take your kids to visit them.
Family is important, it has been a thread that has held the fabric of our nation together. The definition of family has expanded as families have been spread across the country and world. The need for loving relationships that cross blood lines and span generations hasn’t changed, I believe it has become more important. Together when we realize that there is no “them” but only “us”, we can truly live “The Good Life”.
At dinner every night, my family goes around the table and shares their high points and low points of the day. We call it “Favorite” and “Not Favorite”. I hope to share with you some of my “Favorites” and “Not Favorites” of the week.
Favorite- Laughing as a family at a puppet theater performance of Cinderella by Granny and Opa, in my living room.
Not Favorite- News of the deaths of Michael Davis in Ferguson, MO and Robin Williams.