When I was very young, I remember thinking my parents were perfect. They were my “God.” They brought me into this life, taught me the value of family and took care of me, providing a warm, loving home. As I got older, I started to realize that our family wasn’t perfect.
When I was 16, my parents divorced and life drastically changed for our family. Life as we knew it was different, but I came to learn that “different” did not always have to mean “difficult.” I realized that we have the power to make choices that affect how our family will respond to stressful situations.
It is fair to say that those of us who come from stable, loving and supportive families have more of an advantage in life than those who grow up in less-than-ideal family situations. Having your needs met, knowing your parents love you and learning life lessons make the challenges of day-to-day living that much easier. Yet, many people still succeed even if they do not come from the most supportive homes, as they learn not to take loving moments and gestures for granted.
People who have lived through devastating times tend to realize how important family really is. When faced with trouble, rarely do they say, “All I could think about was my bank account.” They almost always say, “All I could do was worry about my loved ones.”
Why does it often require a disaster for us to remember the importance of family? Too often we let the drive to earn money, chase pleasures or meet the needs of people outside of our family divert our attention. Let’s set those things aside and focus on how we can improve our immediate relationships.
What negative beliefs have you carried into your family from your upbringing? It is time to break the cycle and step into your own story, with your own beliefs shaped by your own experiences. Use your story to strengthen love and devotion within your family. Start to ask yourself: What are the causes and effects of my actions? Let us bring back the values of the family system and treat our loved ones like we treat our most precious jewels and belongings.
Long ago I dreamt of having a large family. My husband and I are now blessed with two beautiful daughters and two amazing sons, but I can assure you that life has not always been easy for me. I was married before, and I lost my second daughter to hydrocephalus. My first husband could not handle the loss and we divorced. That was a hard time, but I was able to recover. I learned to hold my head up and work through it.
Today, our two daughters are married to two great guys, and we are blessed with three amazing grandsons. If I had given up after my tragedies, I would not have been able to experience these pleasures. We must understand that even though we certainly cannot control all of life’s obstacles, we are still the producers of our own lives. It all comes down to life’s outcomes and how we choose to handle them.
I believe that those thoughts we have running through our heads throughout the day are quiet prayers. We must be mindful of the thoughts that we put into the Universe, as they will ultimately become actions. Know that love starts from within and focus on more positive ideas.
Be the strength and, when you think you don’t have it, develop a family support system. Maybe you have burned some bridges in the past, but do not let that discourage you. Start to observe your family and see if you have pushed away your cheerleaders.
Recently, with the loss of my mom, I have encountered one of my life’s biggest tragedies. She was my best friend and mentor. Life will never be the same, and she will always be in my heart and thoughts. She taught me to keep pushing through life’s ups and downs and was my biggest cheerleader, and I, hers. That is what family is all about.
Kim Pagano is brought to you by the award-winning talk radio station AM 1590 KVTA. She brings you the Brighter Side of the 805 Saturdays from 6-7 a.m., 7-8 a.m. and 2-3 p.m., reminding us how important it is to “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good.” Kim is a hair therapist in Westlake, a motivational speaker, mother and so much more.