Family ties chapter 2: Friends, not family

No matter if you are a parent, child, husband or wife… consider how you treat your family and ask yourself if you would do the same to a friend. Do this for all your actions and you might find that the answer would surprise you.

I had read this in a magazine article and I started to try it out with past events and daily actions and I realise that it is true, we treat our family more badly than we do our friends. Why?

I think it is because of a few human traits… we are creatures of habit, we let opinions (especially bad ones) fester, and we don’t believe that anyone can change, even though we ourselves change all the time.

Take a step back and think about your relationship with your teachers. The best teachers whom we remember and cherish are the rare ones who never let their guard down, and no matter what happens, treated us with the same respect and belief as on the first day we met.

A good teacher inherently believes that a student will do better all the time. If you respect someone’s opinion, you will not double-guess that person, or even badger them with rude questions or snarky remarks. Also, a good teacher realises that they get treated back the way they treat the students. Respect is earned, especially when it comes to relationships with the younger generation.

As I grow older, I realise that many of us take age as an offensive position, using it as an excuse to be rude or to undermine the younger generation. Most people do this and it is another (annoying) human trait… but is it right? I don’t think so.

I recently read the quote “it is not the future, but the past that separates us” and I found it… enlightening. Everything falls back to history, to the past. From the big stuff like political wars and racism to the little stuff like people relations. It is the past that holds us back, because we hold grudges and have ridiculous notions of right and wrong. So what if our ancestors never got along? That doesn’t have anything to do with us and definitely not anything to do with our future. So what if we had an argument or fall-out in the past? That shouldn’t mean that we cannot start again with a clean slate. Why carry the baggage of the past around?

So what if we do good things to others but do not get even an acknowledgement? It is our choice to do so and our actions should come without expectations.  (See my old blog entry on Love, Expectations and Assumptions)

It is difficult in being human, with the whirlwind of emotions, cultural and traditional rules, relationship politics and what not. So, why don’t we strive to be better a small step at a time.

From today onwards, we can all try our best to consider our actions towards others… especially our families, and ask ourselves, would we do or say this if it was towards a friend instead?

Related post: Family ties chapter 1: Independence


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