I had an interesting experience this week that I wanted to share with everybody. This week in class the topic of discussion was “The Family Under Stress” and how we can best combat the things that we are dealing with every day. We talked about little things that can cause stress but we also talked about much bigger events in our lives that can cause more stress. The discussion was engaging and I left class feeling like I would be able to apply these things into my life.
Later that day I was getting ready to register for classes for Fall Semester and I had a question for my Dad that I needed him to answer. I sent him a text and called him a couple times and didn’t hear anything back. I was getting slightly frustrated so I messaged my sister asking her if she knew where Dad was. She messaged me back and let me know that he was with my brother and other sister and asked me if I knew. I was dumbfounded and replied with a simple “Do I know what?” She then proceeded to tell me that my brother and sister had been hit by a lady going close to 60 MPH through a red light as they were going through the intersection. I was scared for 2 seconds before she let me know that they were OK and that nobody had been injured. I then proceeded to call my Mom and she told me the entire story.
The thing that I was most surprised about was how calm everybody was. There wasn’t anybody freaking out about the fact that if my brother and sister had been hit broadside then they’d probably be dead. I then realized that this was something that my parents had shown in their character for all of my life. Granted there were times when stress would get the best of them (As happens with everybody) but for the most part they’ve always shown a calm and collected manner when dealing with major events in our lives that could be perceived as negative.
When we talk about stress in our lives and things that damage a family, I think stress and our reaction to that plays a large roll in how the family grows closer together or farther apart. If you have a parent that consistently reacts to stress in a negative way (yelling, arguing, negative comments to those around them) then that is going to have two effects on the family. The first thing is that the kids will grow up dealing with stress in a similar way and the second thing is that it will tear the family apart as all are put on edge and don’t enjoy spending time around each other.
On the other hand when you have parents that are calm and they look for the good in the situation then I think that allows the family to grow closer together. That is something that I have learned from my family as we have gone through difficult situations and I think it is part of the reason why we are so close today. I feel like my family has had a lot of situations in our lives when we have been faced with a difficult situation, but every time we have gotten through it and we have generally gotten through it while growing closer together.
If only we could realize how our reaction to stressful situations would effect each and every one of the people involved. I think we would have happier families as we grew together, instead of growing apart.
Ever since I was a small child I remember that part of what I looked forward to the most on Christmas was the omelets my Father would make once we had finished opening presents. This has been a tradition for as long as I can remember and I have many memories of going to bed the night before and being just as excited to open presents as I was to have the omelets we would be eating afterwards. As I have gotten older and moved away from my family I have long since cherished the memories that were made as I was growing and have come to appreciate those memories and traditions more.
My childhood is scattered with memories like this. Another one that comes to mind is how my family and I would generally spend New Years Day. I grew up in a home that loved watching College Football on Saturdays and when the Holiday season comes around there’s a lot of good food and a lot of football on around the house. New Years Day is normally a day that includes a lot of the best bowl games so we always watch those games while taking down all the decorations from Christmas.
It seems like most families have similar traditions and I have talked with many of my friends that share similar memories of cherished activities that the family participates in and just things in general that the family grew up doing together. As I was thinking about this I realized that there are many things that have shaped my family to be how they are today. Things like omelets and football are nice and I enjoy them very much but there are much deeper traditions that my family has held since I was young. Things like family prayer in the morning before my Dad would leave for work and scripture study at night before we would go to bed are a few of the things that stand out to me as I think back to my years at home. Living in Dallas I had the opportunity to attend early morning seminary and I remember that I had an hour or two before school started that I wanted to come home and go back to sleep. Without fail, just as I had fallen asleep my Dad would call up to me to come downstairs so we could say family prayer. I would stomp down the stairs wrapped in the blankets from my bed and fall on the couch with a bad attitude that I had to be woken up to say prayer with my family. It wasn’t until many years later in my life that I realized what a blessing that had been because it had shaped my own habits while I was on my mission and while I was in school. I now look back on that memory with fondness because of the habits I was being taught as my Father would wake me up daily so I could say prayers with my family.
Traditions like this have always been a blessing to my family and I know that they have been blessings to many others. I believe that we would be wise to implement these in our own lives, whether it’s for our current families or our future families. They make a difference and I have seen the blessings that have come with them even though I haven’t lived at home for close to four years now. When we take the time to implement good traditions that our families become fond of it can really change the way we look back on our families and they can shape how we treat our future families. You never know what traditions you will end up looking back on with fondness, they might just make all the difference.