A bit of background on the following piece. Several years ago we had a family reunion here in our backyard. It took place over a three day weekend. We have these reunions periodically and generally try to have some type of formal program on Saturday afternoon. In most instances we have had a "special" event. One year we had a special "This Is Your Life" program honoring my mother. The program included special music and a very funny magic act. One was my niece's wedding (a surprise to all who attended) and the other was a renewal of wedding vows by my brother and sister-in-law (also a surprise to all) so attendees never know what's coming next. The theme of this particular reunion was family so I wrote and read the following.
(Note: The back of the program read
I give it to you unedited.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY
When you picked up your program today, you may have wondered why it reads on the front "Welcome Home" since this is not home for most of you. However, if you turned it over and read the back side that makes more sense. Having family is very comforting to me. For the word comforting, my dictionary reads as follows: having the feeling of home and comfortable with synonyms of homey, at home, cozy, homelike and soothing. These are feelings I have when I think of family. So being with family is like coming home. It's always kind of like a "warm fuzzy" seeing my family again.
And families are forever. You are born into families and you die with families around. Families go way back in history. All of us have ancestors. There is no getting away from them. They are there, and good or bad, they will never go away. Some family trees reach much farther back in time than others. But the ancestors are still out there. Family, ancestors are part of our heritage. Families are forever.
Families are important. Our heritage not only includes who our ancestors are but also the ones brought into our families by marriage. Another major factor is what we have been taught by our families. We have been given love. We have been given encouragement ... understanding ... hope ... comfort ... advice ... values ... morals ... ideals and best of all we have been taught about our faith. We have been told to laugh at our mistakes and that we could be just a little proud of learning from them. We have been taught to enjoy the people we know and to appreciate the beauty of nature. We have learned by watching the examples before us. We're told to try out new things, to laugh and enjoy life, to try harder or try again, to appreciate what we have, to help those who are less fortunate, to make friends, to be a friend and to honor God and our country. We've been taught honor and respect. Since families are forever, we then pass these traditions on to the next generation.
The list of things we've been taught could go on and on. Not often enough do we turn to the ones who have taught us and say "Thank you". Without the love and instruction of family, where would we be? Now, not all of us have had exactly the same set of lessons put before us. They vary some. But someone has been there to teach. We learn, not only from our parents and grandparents, we also learn from our siblings and their spouses, from aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and we learn daily from our children and grandchildren.
Families are there for us. Who can we go to when we need a helping hand? Who can we go to when we need a comforting arm or shoulder? Who can we go to when we need someone to give us a little praise? Who shares our earliest memories? Who can we depend on for moral support? Who can we just hang out with without actually doing or saying much? Who can you get really mad at and (even though they might not show it) loves you anyway? Who is easier than family to laugh with or to cry with? Who is there to share the joys of birth, weddings and other milestones in our lives and yes, to share the sorrows and pain of bad times, heartache, illness and death? Who knows you better than family?
All the things we've learned make us who we are and we are family. I personally like being with family. I like to see how we all are growing and growing up. I like to see the changes and additions. Our family just keeps growing. And each time we get together brings back memories of the last time we all gathered.
All these things are important and I'm sure glad we have so many to turn to for love, hugs and just plain visiting. Sometimes, in this almost transient world we live in, we can get out of touch with those who mean so much to us. It is vital then, to work harder at staying in touch and to continue to share our lives with our loved ones. And so, families are forever and since families are important, I would like to suggest that we try to have a reunion at least every two years.
To sing along click here for the lyrics.
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