The Importance of Family

One of the most basic of needs is a a feeling of roots.  It has been said that we need to know where we come from to know where we are going.

Whenever a new child is born, comments about who the child looks like are a certainty.  Whether we have a nose like Grandpa or the eyes of Uncle Joe and a chin like Grandma we know where we come from.

Caroline Myss calls it a feeling of “tribe”. It is the root system that grounds us.

Now I realize that not all children grow up in their biological family, but they can still have that sense of where they come from.  A sense of security from those who love them.

I think that one of the most devastating forces is the destruction of family.

Divorce can lead children to feel that they need to “pick a side” thus causing them to deny a part of themselves.  They lose out on exploring the full benefits of part of their own DNA.

Families today are spread out across the world.  No longer do we see the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa’s like we used to to.  Grandchildren grow up not knowing their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Modern devices like Skype and such, make it so we can communicate and see each other, but it lacks the intimacy of playing tag with our cousins.

The foundations that hold us together as a family, as a community, are fraying.

I didn’t know either of my biological Grandmothers.  They died when my parents were kids.  However, I knew my parents’ step-mothers.  In particular one of them.  She was a model to me in my childhood and in my adulthood.  She was a woman of ultimate patience.  She taught me, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  (A lesson I’m still trying to put into practice.)  There are things you can enjoy with your grandparents that you just don’t get from your parents.  Grandparents teach us lessons in a different way than our parents do.  Maybe it is because they have mellowed with age.  Maybe it is what Bill Cosby declared, “These are not the people who raised me!  These are old people trying to get into heaven!”  All I know is that my relationship with my Grandma has been a stabilizing force in my life, even long after she left this earth.

Now as the Grandma I am enjoying watching my grandchildren grow and learn.  I watch my daughter and marvel at what a wonderful job she does with her children.  She is an amazing homemaker!  I see the energy those little boys have and I can’t imagine how I did it with four small children.

A tree without a root system withers and dies.  A tree that never develops branches and blooms and grows will also wither and die.  A tree that only grows on one side is unbalanced and will eventually topple.


The Redwood Trees have a rather shallow root system.  Yet they grow up to 350′, weigh up to 500 tons and live for hundreds and even up to thousands of years.  How do they do it?  They grow close together and share their root systems.  They literally hold each other up.

If I could wish to leave one thing behind it would be that we all would be like the Redwoods.  We all need a place to come from and a place to grow to.  We need to stand close and hold each other up.

Redwood trees

One thought on “The Importance of Family

  1. Oh how very true…these words! There are frayed edges in my family due to divorce and I continue to pray that the children that have been torn from their roots…will return to the loving, strong foundation of home. A great post!

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