Family is everything. From our first moments to our last, our family is there to enjoy the best moments of our lives with us. Oftentimes we mistake family for the people who we are born into with, but in reality, the family is much more than just a mother, a father, and maybe a sibling or two. A family can be people who are not necessarily related to you, but people who genuinely care and love you. Admittedly, sometimes we feel as if our friends are more of a family to us than our actual family, and that’s okay because when you think about it, friends can be family too.
At times the communities we serve become our own family because they see our growth, they see how we become a better person, and they understand how we overcome our flaws. Our community becomes our family because they see beyond what we used to be, and they believe in our capabilities.
Being in a community that helps you grow is such a joy. Back in high school, my friends and I would go to this little neighborhood to bring food and to teach the kids how to read and write. That little community would greet us with such big smiles, and the kids would show us their practice writings or their drawings. Eventually, we graduated, and we could no longer keep visiting them as our colleges were hours away. We said our farewell to the little community we fell in love with during the months of visits. The families there had prepared a little celebration to send us off and to thank us for everything. I will never forget how one of the mothers had pulled me aside and said, “you will always have a place in my family.”
I was under the impression that we were doing the helping, but it turns out that we were the ones being helped out. Before we got there, we were a bunch of kids with not much appreciation for what we had, but after everything, we had our feet firmly placed on the ground. We saw that what we were taking advantage of was something that was a privilege. Going to school, getting to eat three times a day, and even having access to clean water, just things that we never thought about because it was there and it was easy for us. This little community had opened our eyes and had treated us like family even when they had close to nothing.
With so much hate going around and with people just spreading negativity, it is always best to make sure that we use our energy and time into making an effort that would better our community and better ourselves, treat everyone as if they are part of this one big family. Maybe your office community needs a little cheering up, or maybe your school community needs a big boost before finals, there is always something good to do for us to make a change in someone’s life.
Sometimes we think we are not doing enough for our family or our friends, and we just overcompensate, but in truth, our family will love us no matter what. No matter how bad it gets or how far you go, the family is the one stable thing in our life, which is why when we do not have our families close to us, then we create new families within our communities. We search for normal, and we search for the safety and security that a family provides, so we create a new one. Eventually, we have a family wherever we go, and everywhere we turn, there is a family that loves us genuinely.
Most times, it becomes harder to reach out to our community and turn strangers into families. Still, it is so fulfilling to be able to go out and have a community that supports you, a community that understands. Next door neighbors can become extended families with just a simple hello.
Reaching out to anyone is where all this begins. My friends and I had reached out that day, and we eventually met a whole new family who had helped us grow and become better people. Without that decision to reach out, we would have never become who we are today. We would probably still be taking advantage of the privileges we had.
So, take that leap of faith and go to that community fundraiser, visit the neighbor, or say hi to the mailman. Every day is a chance to start a new family, and it is a new chance to change a life. You would never know whose life you save with a simple act of kindness. Your community matters, so take care of it like it’s your family.