Hilbert Morales | EL OBSERVADOR
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Now that November 11th Veteran’s Day has been celebrated appropriately, it is time to think about one’s family becoming a more inclusive extended family. This is in preparation for Thanksgiving Day family reunion get-togethers as a first step (regardless of long-term disagreements). Plan to get your family together in preparation for not only Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019, but also for Christmas, December 25th and New Year’s Eve 2020. The main purpose of these family get-togethers is to foster the long-term relationships which have been the basis of your genealogy.

At these family reunions much of importance will happen as an outcome of simply telling each other what you are doing and how it is going with you’. By sharing your interests and current involvements, you open the door to supportive and constructive commentary by those who are interested in fostering the best outcome possible.

It is these intangible relationships and associations which result in those emotional commitments which are basic to not only family relationships but also to committed friendships. These result in a commitment to help out even if it is only with personal experiences of the past. It is during these conversations that one learns about the past challenges which were faced and resolved. Many times, the resolution results in becoming aware that opportunity right here at home is limited unless one obtains the training and education needed.

And even then, it is in personal associations that one learns who can help open the door to the opportunity being sought.

Those individuals who try to do things all by themselves invariably have many challenges which may be resolved by learning the needed information from someone else who is in that field. One common obstacle is thinking and believing that the challenge being faced is unique to you. That is never the case.

In your family circle, share your thoughts and feelings so that by becoming slightly vulnerable others will be given the opening by you to share their experiences and know-how.

Attending family reunions will give you the opportunity to share your current state of personal affairs with those most interested in your well-being. If you do not have brothers nor sisters, then develop strong friendships with someone who, over time and association, proves worthy of being trusted.

As a teenager, I rebelled against the personal characterizations which were placed on me by others who were not family members, I wanted to go to college and did not realize that my father and mother did not have the background nor information which permitted them to guide my activities and interests. My mother used to say to me: “Solo si Dios quiere” (Only if God wishes (grants) it.”) My high school advisor was an Anglo-Saxon teacher whose vision of my future was You are going to be a steel-mill worker just like your dad.” Somehow, in my mind I had decided that I was not going to be a steelworker’.

It was a different Anglo-Saxon adult who told me, “Hilbert, you have a natural facility with numbers. You should develop that talent. Which I subsequently did by studying math all the way up to the calculus. Even though my high school had no science teaching laboratories, it was a natural sciences teacher who directed me towards books which informed me about the biological sciences.

But it was my father who told me that while I was a teenager, “look around to the many different areas of work and knowledge because through that effort you may discover what it is you really like to do and understand. I am a ‘steelworker” because that is the way I could make the most money which supports your mother and my children. It is those circumstances which influenced what choices I had.”

My dad had the natural ability to analyze things. I saw him read many books as a child. And I know that I copied many of his habits of reading which led to learning and knowing something about many things.

Looking back, there is one area where I could have benefitted by knowing more and receiving more guidance. That area was in dealing with money’. However, I learned much from friends whose families were better off than mine. It was during discussions of future purchases that I learned to shop around for the best value rather than spend my limited funds on the fad of the moment’.

It was at home; in the family that I learned to take care of essentials first. Most importantly, I learned to resist sales pitches.

Most importantly, at home I learned to play games which were educational. However, I did play football as a sport where I learned teamwork and membership’. My swimming sport involvement taught me to develop my free style strokes for long distances. I was never fast and speedy, but I did have much endurance, so I ran the long races. Most importantly, I learned to lose with grace and accept the fact that others where more gifted than I was. However, I also learned that I had certain gifts which I developed. Basically, I experimented much as a teenager and learned my limits and developed what I was good at doing’.

But through all these developments, I received support and assistance from parents and siblings though I did not realize that until I was a more mature individual.

It was in the family that I was first exposed to being teased. And I miss all that now that I am a mature individual who has enjoyed my family, eight brothers and 3 sisters plus both parents who raised us in the Roman Catholic tradition of religion. It was in this family that I learned right from wrong; limits imposed by current lack of resource$ and doing the most possible with what was available. Somehow, my family was always optimistic and content’. We all learned to share things fairly.

It is these intangible human inter-relationships which are missed if you do not attend your family gatherings or as an alternative, learn to be with friends who are good colleagues. These latter folks are the ones who become your extended family.

Good mental health results from being in working relationships with parents, siblings, friends, and work colleagues. I also think that being a supportive and involved parishioner in a church group is a good thing.

It is in the family that I learned to treat other with respect and honor their dignity and personhood. Today, many good friends and associates help me to sustain the quality of my life and its interests. With experience and maturity, I know that my perspectives have changed.

“What is a good lifestyle?” It involves living with others who treat each other with mutual respect and dignity. And who know how to tell you how to enjoy and be glad, life is good! Especially when it involves your family members and good friends.

Decide to use this holiday season 2019 to really enjoy the coming 2020 year! Begin with your family (and/or friends).

The outcome will be your inclusive extended family.