86 thoughts on “Family

  1. I believe that family is one of the most important things out there, and you never truly realize how much you need them in your life until they are gone. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I had become really close with my grandfather during my later teenage years and have just become to start opening up to him and sharing new things. He would “babysit” me every Saturday with my grandma and that was basically my whole childhood and he became a huge part in my life as he had helped to raise me to become the person that I am today. And in the summer before my senior year of high school, he had so unexpectedly passed of a heart attack just four days after seeing him last. How unexpected it was to have felt he had been ripped from my life just as he and I were getting closer, after walking and talking on the beach a few days before his death and coming up with the most basic handshake there is. If there’s one thing I learned from this tragedy, is to never take advantage of the people in your life that truly love and care about you and to realize just how important I believe that family can be in your life. Cherish it.

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    • Dear Halle, thank you for sharing and I’m sorry for your loss. As I get older, I realize how much my family has formed the core of my being, so I agree, that our families, the ones we are born to or the ones we create, center us.

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    • I relate very closely to you. I would spent many days being watched by my grandparents and when I almost lost my grandfather to complications with a heart attack, it really taught me that I should be more appreciative with the time I have with family.

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      • I am so sorry for your loss. I too can relate to the sudden loss of a loved one who I also cherished greatly. After a family member of mine had died, I began to look at my family with wider eyes. With the family that I still have, I try my best to enjoy every moment with them. My relationship with my family is definitely the most important thing to me. I truly do not know who I would be without them.

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    • Hello Halle, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for the loss of your grandfather, I understand what it’s like to lose a grandparent and I am here if you would like to talk. One thing I took from my grandmother’s passing was not to be hateful or spiteful that she was taken from me, but that she had lived a wondering fulfilling life and I’m so lucky that I got to spend some of it with her. I understand that it hurts but time heals your wounds, and although it may hurt a lot, the best thing to do is not only to live on for them, but for yourself and the goals you have in life. If you do want to talk we can find each other through social media but just know that there are people who love you and you’ll always have someone to talk to if you need it. 🙂

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    • I am deeply sorry for your loss and i agree with you 100%. You should never take anything or anyone for granted whatsoever. Take pride and cherish the little moments that you have with the ones you love while you have them there with you. Any day could be someones last

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    • Halle, I couldn’t agree more. I lost my dad when I was younger and it opened my eyes to how quickly life can change. It made me take a step back and realize how lucky I was to still have a supportive family by my side. You never know when someone will pass away and that’s why I try to appreciate each and every day with my family.

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    • Halle, I’m so sorry about your loss. I agree very much that you should never take advantage of someone that truly loves you. It is so important to embrace every moment you have with them because you have no idea when you will never see them again. I remember when I lost my great-grandma and then my grandma and was so sad where I knew I wouldn’t see them again. I did not realize the times I spent with them before they passed would be the last ones I would spend with them ever again. Thank you so much for writing this, it is very helpful for everyone to read and learn from.

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    • I also believe that family is important, and to me, it is above all. I treasure my moments with my family very much because as years go on I know family members will pass away and what will be left are those memories I shared with them. Family is and will always be there to support me. I completely agree with you that people must cherish every moment that they have with their family. Thank you for sharing your story and making me more aware of how my family has helped me throughout the years.

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    • I totally and completely agree about you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. My dad recently took his own life about 3 months ago. My life has completely changed and will never be the same. I wish I could go back and cherish every memory with him again.

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    • To me, family is something I strongly believe in. The thought of my family is something that drives me to do succeed in all things that I do. Whether that be school or work, my family encourages me to always keep going even when I feel like giving up. After losing my grandmother nearly a year ago, the biggest lesson I have learned is that family is what gets you through the darkest of times. After we lost my grandmother, who is now someone I consider to be the anchor of my family, I thought we would never be the same. I understood what it meant to live in a house that was not a home. Things seemed darker and more quiet. We were still getting by day to day but there was always a feeling of something missing. It took me sometime to realize that it is still important to hold on to the loved ones that are still here even while mourning a very cherished individual. In a house of 3 which used to be 4, my family and I became closer by continuing to talk to each other about how we were feeling. We talk about things we remember most about my grandmother which brings us closer because only we share these memories. That is something I value most because my family and I share things that no one else would ever experience. I think that is something all families bond over. It is a connection that can’t be found anywhere else. I hope to always share this connection with them and to pass it on for generations.

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    • I believe that family will have the biggest impact on you. While my mom was at work, my uncle used to watch me when I was little. He was one of my favorite uncles that I loved to be around. Every time he came over, he used to sit me down, talk to me about life, and tell me everything I needed to know. We constantly talked about my education, created goals, and discussed what I wanted to be in life. Growing up, he always provided me with an ear to listen. I could tell him about my problems and know that he would be there to comfort me. I was 13 when I got the most dreadful news that my uncle had just died in a car accident early one morning. It was so much to take in that I didn’t know how to react. He was taken so soon. It hurt that he didn’t get to be there as I grew up and see all my achievements. My family taught me the importance of gratefulness. They taught me to cherish the loved ones around me. I’m so blessed to have all my other family members that are still alive and with me. My uncle’s death made realize how valuable life is. It allowed me to understand that you should never take life for granted. You never really know how important your family members are until you realize that one of them is gone. His death shaped me into who I am today by teaching me how to be grateful, being true to myself and always remaining positive.

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  2. Defining the driving force in one’s life requires deep reflection. Many different things can influence the person that we define ourselves as, but for me, upon much thought, I find that my family is what pushes me beyond what I would define as my constraints.
    I come from a family of immigrants, predominantly Portuguese, and I am very proud of it. Although my grandparents were, and are illiterate, I have learned so much from them beyond what would never be written or read. Coming to a foreign country in hopes of giving their families a better life, both sets of my grandparents worked strenuous jobs to be able to provide. Moving forward, my mother and father, were raised with farless than I have, but they were able to become very successful. With that success, they always provided me with everything I could ever want, leaving me to yearn for nothing. From that, I learned to do the same for myself and my family in the future.
    From my family I learned the importance of hard work and dedication. Nothing drives me to success more than the concept of making my parents, and grandparents proud. As I begin my journey as a nursing student, I am ready to accept all the adversities that will most definitely be thrown my way, with the many attributes that I have gained from family. Becoming a nurse is no easy task, but my goal is set, and with the understanding that I have the strength and support of my family, I will accomplish everything set in front of me.
    As I start any difficult journey ahead of my, my only aspiration is to make my family, who has always been my support system, proud.

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    • Reading your belief statement gives me such great gratitude towards you and your family for overcoming such adversarial odds and it is extremely admirable in my opinion.

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    • I too feel that my family is my driving force. I definitely do what I do to try to make them proud. I don’t know where I would be without them.

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    • I agree with what you said about how your family instilled in you the importance of hard work and dedication. My family has instilled in me similar aspects and I as well strive to achieve them.

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    • Alysen, I definitely can relate to what you said about your parents struggling and still making sure you had everything you needed. My parents did the best they could as well and always made sure I had everything I could ask for. It made me feel grateful for them and everything I had and when I started to make money of my own it felt good to give them what they gave me.

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  3. I’ve lived most of my life in fear. Fear of being labeled, fear of being judged, and fear of being misunderstood. My childhood consisted of morals and teachings, forced onto us with love. The love for my parents made me force myself to believe the things they taught me – that and my overwhelming fear of being a disappointment. Growing up in a African household, it always roamed with culture and customs – from waste beads, to purses, to beautiful African attire – but never lacked the ignorance that accompanied them.
    I’ve always played more of a watching role because my parents took advantage of their inherent authority and manipulated it into fear within us younger children. I watched at the age of 11 sitting in my parents’ bed in my PJs as my dad said he saw lesbians as children because “all they did was play with toys”; feeling the gap emerge between my father and I, reassuring the inevitability of forcing myself into his wishes for who I am. I watched on my 12th birthday as my family gathered to enjoy a film, my mother shouted angrily “what is this nonsense” when the film displayed a scene with two women kissing; drifting farther farther away from my potential to come out to my mother. I watched as my eldest sister was shunned from my family for being in love with a woman, marking the end of all the “why can’t you be more like your elder sister”; Marking a year and 6 months before the face of death strolled in and snatched my eldest sister away from me, leaving an everlasting hole in my heart. A hole unique to the loss of a role model, a best friend and so much more. Losing the only person that held together my whole being. Losing the glue to my sanity and humanity. In losing my sister, I lost myself but I gained motivation. The motivation came at a time when I needed it the most. I watched, afraid and somehow never noticing how watching had become a personal speciality. Watching in silence only further deepened my inner conflict, fear and confusion with myself, making me question my identity with every new experience.

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    • Florence, thank you for sharing your story. I literally cried reading your this we believe post. Im sorry you have had to deal with such a hardships. you are incredibly strong and amazing. hopefully Dartmouth makes you feel welcome and helps you discover yourself.

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  4. When I was born, my mother was working in Boston at a law firm and had to take the train in everyday. My father was starting up his construction company and my older sister was in school. I spent every day with my grandmother. She taught me many of the things that shaped me into the person I am today and for that I will be forever grateful. She taught me how to swim, gave me my first rootbeer float, and so much more. Everyone around her was always happy because she always put the needs of the people she cared about before her own. I lost my grandmother to breast cancer when I was eleven years old. She battled it for 18 years, beating it twice until she didn’t have the strength to fight for the third time. Everyone deals with grief differently but losing your best friend, teacher, and grandmother all at once it soul crushing. She touched so many people’s lives just by being kind and doing whatever she could to help others in need. She taught me that no matter what, you should be kind and have forgiveness in your heart because making mistakes is what makes people human. I chose to share the story of my childhood with her not because of the tears it caused me when I lost her, but the realization that she’s not gone. She lives on through my smile, a kind gesture to a stranger on the street, or being a shoulder to cry on for a friend. Helping others was her passion in life and I chose to help others because it is the right thing to do, and it is the type of person she raised me to be. I love her, and because of what she did for me when I was young, I can do my best to change the lives of others like she changed mine. I believe in the power of love, just like my grandmother.

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  5. Family is important, it’s probably the most important thing to have for me. Growing up in an Italian family, we always have the big family gatherings with my five aunts, five uncles, and a lot of cousins. Every time my family have a gathering or meeting up for a holiday, we always had a lot of food, great Italian music, talking, and eating. But in these past three months it’s been hard with me and my family, I lost my favorite uncle. My uncle would do anything he could to make anyone feel good about themselves. He would give you his last dollar in his wallet. He kept our family together, and after he passed away our family got detached from each other. This motivated me to be more like him. This is why family is so important, no matter what happens you always have family to help you.

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    • He sounds like such a great guy, what a wonderful role model. I hope things get better with your family soon, i’m sorry for your loss.

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    • Christopher, I am truly sorry for your loss. your uncle had touching beliefs, im glad to see he has past them on to you. we need more people like you in the world.

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    • This is such a great point. I come from a big family as well, my father being the youngest of ten, but some of his siblings are getting older, many are old enough to be my grandparents. While there are only a few siblings left that will actually still get together for holidays, I cant imagine losing any of them, especially my aunt who always coordinates everything. I am very sorry for your loss and I hope that your family finds strength in this hard time.

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  6. “Family” is powerful word with no single meaning; the definition varies in multiple ways, expanding even more through people’s interpretation. It is a relationship that binds people by blood, a group of individuals that share common ancestors. It becomes a chain of links that continues to stretch longer as the years fly by. Connecting people with different personalities, different experiences, and oftentimes-different cultures. A household of child and their guardian(s), who ever that may be, in whatever type of household. Varying in size, religion, and race. The concept of family reaching beyond blood relation, and spreading towards strangers we choose to grow close to.
    Every family has a story of how they live or came to be. On August 29, 1997 my parents got married, in a day of promise and loyalty, a beautiful ceremony celebrating two families coming together. One from Cape Verde and the other from the Azores connected not by blood but by love. Over time the Pinheiro family has expanded their household so we could all live together, as of 2019 we have lived as a seven-person household for almost 11 years. During this time, we have all learned a few things on how to live with six other people, it may be a big house but we could always use a little more space. Our family consists of me, my little sister, parents, grandparents and friends who come by that we all adore.
    Connected by blood and love, a goal that could take as little as days to achieve or years. Who do you call family?

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    • I also live in a somewhat large household. About 4 years ago my family of 6 (my mom, dad, older brother, older sister, me, and younger brother) moved in with my grandparents after my grandfather had an accident. To me, family are people who are around in your time of need. We were around to take care of my handicapped grandfather and help lighten the load on my grandmother

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  7. The one constant in life should always be family. When all else has failed and you feel the stresses of life pushing in around you, you should always be able to turn to family to help carry those loads, as you would do the same for them. That is one of the core values I have been raised to represent and live by; “family first”, or simply the importance of being there for each other. This brings me back to one experience in particular, or my great-grandmother Rose Beren, who passed away four years ago at the age of eighty six. It was an early Sunday morning nearly a decade ago, just after seven o’clock, and my brother and I got in my grandmothers car for a trip to their house in Worcester. The ride was just over an hour long but we didn’t mind as we each had our own DS with games like Mario Kart and Super Mario Bros to keep us busy, along with countless other car games that filled my childhood. We finally pulled up the driveway of a quaint little house at the top of a hill and snuck ever so quietly to the door and rung the bell. When my great-grandmother opened the door, dressed in nothing but her nightgown, probably wondering why the hell we were at her door at eight in the morning on a Sunday. Despite all of this, a huge smile erupted into her face, we were welcomed in with huge hugs and kisses, three more chairs were added to the table, and more toast was thrown into the toaster. It was as though we were always supposed to be there, and that feeling of belonging and family has been carried with me ever since that day, and is what I attempt to embody whenever possible.

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  8. Family, a different meaning to each person who hears the word. Family is not only blood, it is a bond. I believe that family is made up of the people we choose, to support us and love us no matter what. Family is the unbreakable bond and endless laughter that we share. When I was young I had one brother and my parents had recently been through a divorce. At the time I thought my world was ending and nothing else mattered to me.
    Nine years ago all of that changed. My mom met her current boyfriend(soon to be husband) in 2010. As a kid I thought that I could never accept this man as my dad. Along with this news my mother also told me he had two kids, at the time 2 and 3. The age difference and the thought of sharing everything was appalling to me. I didn’t give the three of them the time of day.
    Flash forward three years and my youngest brother is born. Never did I think that a baby,crying and screaming, would in any way HELP our situation. But here is where I realized that I was wrong. Being the oldest, I was responsible for babysitting all 4 of them. Through countless games of Monopoly and hide and seek, we formed a bond. I finally stopped seeing the kids as “my mom’s boyfriend’s kids.” I stopped seeing them as annoying or as a burden. I finally saw them for what they are; they are my siblings.
    When I was thirteen, I faced the worst challenge in my family life yet. I found out who my real father was and that my dad didn’t want to deal with me anymore “since I wasn’t his he didn’t want to fight for me in the divorce.” This led me to blame everything on myself and I felt as though I was worthless. If it wasn’t for my step dad and siblings I would probably still feel that way. However I learned quickly that they DID want to be in my life and my step dad even saw me as his own. He said this to me even after countless times of my awful attitude towards him and telling him he would never be my dad.
    It wasn’t until two years ago I started to build a better relationship with my step father. As I made my way through high school, he came to every softball game, chorus concert, and award ceremony. He fully supported me in every decision that I made and became somebody I trusted with anything. I would not have a trusting, friendly, and supportive relationship with him if I had not chosen to set aside my anger. When I finally opened up to him is when I realized we are a family. These are the people that will forever stand by me. I wouldn’t trade the world for the bond that I have with my family today.
    I find it funny that only nine years ago I refused to accept this truth. Today my sister cries at the thought of me going off to college, and my dad was screaming and cheering me on as I walked across the stage at graduation. The person I am today was completely shaped by the wonderful people that make up my “family.” Every time I think that I am alone or that I am struggling, I can look back and realize my family is right there cheering me on. Through the hatred and the hardships, love prevailed and my family bonded like glue. Life may never be easy, but I am confident that I’m not facing it alone.

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  9. Every member of my family has been born and raised in Poland, including me. I was the firstborn grandchild, and was awaited by my whole family. After much consideration and hiding their plan from everyone, my parents decided that they wanted a better life for their growing family, and they decided to move to America. We were due to leave on March 8, 2001, 13 days before my first birthday. To our knowledge, the plan was set to take action, until we were informed that my citizenship papers and immigration paperwork had been lost in the process. My parents ended up leaving without me. They didn’t get to see their firstborn turn 1. I was raised by my grandmother and aunt, while everyone in my hometown wondered how my parents could have left me knowing they wouldn’t see me for a long time. For 3 years, I lived in Poland and was nannied and spoiled by my whole family. Meanwhile, in America, my mom had fallen into a deep depression after having had to leave her baby, and no money to go back home. Both her and my father had come to America with nothing but a suitcase, and a mattress lying on the floor of an empty apartment. After years of trying their hardest, my parents are still working towards that American Dream.

    Being categorized as an immigrant in the present day can be mistaken for being a person who doesn’t belong; an outcast, or outlier. Immigrants have been seen as a burden, and accused of taking advantage of other countries. However, speaking from the point of view of a Polish immigrant I see it as people looking for opportunity. My parents both lived on farms in eastern Europe and never even dreamed of having the “luxuries” we have today. Except they didn’t take “advantage” of America. They were hard-working citizens, employed in multiple jobs, experienced many sleepless nights learning the language, and paid taxes just like everyone else. Having moved from the suburbs of Poland, my parents have created a loving, and financially steady home in America. Years of 24-hour workdays, juggling their 20’s, a young daughter, learning English, and constantly working, at times seemed too hard. In the most recent years, it has all finally paid off. That young daughter is now headed to college, 24-hour workdays have turned into 8 hour business days, English seems like they’ve known the language since childhood, and their 20’s have turned into 40’s. Making a life out of nothing isn’t luck. I believe that being able to do that, takes an unimaginable amount of hard work, courage, love, and support.

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    • I give you and your family so much credit. We as Americans take so much for granted. You are really living the ‘American Dream’ of hard work and believing in yourself. We are glad you are here and you represent today’s America. Just learning the English language and trying to blend in is so difficult. Be proud of your heritage and be proud of your family.

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  10. Family doesn’t necessarily mean blood. The most important decisions in anyone’s life is whom they choose to be apart of the very few, close people they consider as family. I only have one brother and one sister that is blood, but my family is way larger than that. I have one stepbrother, two stepsisters and one sister who isn’t even related but I’ve known her for a very long time that I don’t care about how we’re related, she’s my sister and no one can convince me otherwise. I’ve learned to spend time with my family as much as possible because when they are gone they are truly gone. When my nana passed away unexpectedly I took it very hard, I thought about how many missed opportunities I had to spend time with her and I will regret passing those up for a very long time. I don’t like living with regret and I don’t think there is a bigger regret than passing up your last opportunity to see a loved one whether you know it’s the last or not. Over the past two years I have started to shift into a more family oriented person, before I would never want to go over a family members house or even have them come over to mine. Now I take every chance I get to spend time with my family. I believe that everyone should spend more time with family, blood or not, because when you lose them they are gone forever. Don’t make yourself regret not spending time with family because after all, family is always there while most other things, are temporary.

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  11. I believe in Family

    However, family isn’t something that is defined only by blood. Family to me is anyone you can find a home in. People you can connect with emotionally, physically and spiritually and can relate too. I find family important because they are the beings that are supposed to support you and cheer you on when times get rough. They are suppose to be there for you no matter what and I’m lucky enough to have people who care about me.
    Family to me is an emotional title and sometimes people can twist and warp the beautiful title. For example when I was 6 years old my father left. He stopped calling, stopped coming to see me and my sister and honestly it hurt. But as time progresses you move on and I have a father figure with my step dad who has been there every step of the way. Every football game, every track meet, every birthday he was there. Me and my stepdad are not related by blood yet I find him to be closer to me than my biological father. I’m grateful, its moments like these that I sit back and realize that blood doesn’t make you closer, its the bonds that you make and the bonds that will break that will determine the people you call “family”. If the people you call “family” aren’t helping with general progression and making sure you have a stable support system or bring toxicity to your life can you really still call them family? Family should seek your best interest and if they decide to leave I learned it is their loss, not yours.
    For this reason I find refuge in my family. They’re always there for me so I cannot express and this is why I believe in family.

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    • I completely agree that family isn’t defined by blood. In my experience, it can almost feel bittersweet when you realize that someone you’ve only known for a couple years is giving you more love and respect than someone you’ve known your whole life, blood relative or not. It’s so important for us as human beings to have close relationships where we can be ourselves and feel loved, and I think people realizing that they can choose their family is good for their emotional health.

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  12. The Question is what does family mean to me? Family means to protect and take care of each other even if want to fight each other. we love each other anyway. My family helps each other with struggles in their lives. My family makes sure that I have everything I need in my life even if it takes years to get it. My family helps me go through horrible events that happening in my life. One big thing that happen that my family supports me through then and still helping me through is my mother passing from asthma. This event was really hard for me when she passed because we had a perfect connection. I used to talk to her about everything that happened in my life. This explains how family means to me.

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  13. In my life what I value the most is family. I respect the sense of responsibility everyone has for each other. As the child of immigrants, taking care of family has always been a core value. This value was passed on to me by my mother. She was the one who really introduced me to what family was all about. Every single important thing she’s done in her life has been for her family. The same goes for all of the women from her side of the family. Being so fortunate to have been born in America can usually make you forget how bad other countries have it. However, those in my family who immigrated from Haiti know the struggle. They constantly send shipments of food and clothing to our family back home. My parents got divorced when I was six, but even before that I rarely saw my father, because he lived in Canada. Everything I learned about family came from my mom, and for that I’m thankful. Ever since I was a young kid I’ve envisioned starting a huge family of my own, and making sure that I’m always there for them and that I raise them to care for family as much as I do. The definition of family does not have to be tied only to blood relation. One can define it as any group that they feel safe, or at home with. I definitely have a group of friends from highschool that I know for a fact will be in my life for a long time. Home is where the heart is.

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  14. Family comes in many ways shapes and forms and is a lot of times are not blood related. To me family means someone who is a positive influence and brings good energy into your life. Many times people are not fortunate enough to be born into a caring supportive family so they have to create their own families. Recently I went to a close friend’s wedding, her father had passed away and she did not have much of her own family in attendance. The groom on the other hand had three times the amount of family that the bride had at their wedding. Even though the bride did not have as much of her whole family there you could not tell because of how happy and welcoming all the groom’s family was. I felt that was a perfect example of how family is not always blood but can be acquired throughout the years. “Family” is a broad term and can have many different meanings but to me, it means anyone who loves and supports you unconitionally.

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  15. The definition of family is different from person to person. Some take it as the literal definition, all the people who share a common ancestor, such as your mother, father, and or siblings, but for others such as myself, take it broader. I believe that family is those who are there for you, care for you, and respect your being. They are what you get excited to see when they spend time with you, and they make you feel safe. However, there were times that the people I thought I could consider my family was in fact, the complete opposite of what I believed in. Friends who I thought I could consider family after accepting them for so long would gradually begin to be the people that I hide from. After many struggles and support from those who did care about my well-being, I was able to break them off of what was considered my “family”. I was fortunate to have a loving family, both with my blood family and my inner circle of friends, but some aren’t as fortunate as I have. Some have only one parent or none, some may have no friends to care for, but as long as you can find those who treat you with the love and care that a person needs and wants, a full happy family can be achieved.

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  16. I believe in family. To me, family goes beyond genetics. Family is formed through special bonds consisting of love, support, trust, loyalty, acceptance, encouragement, and so much more. Family is there for you during your personal hardships and greatest achievements. They help you strive to be your best and most authentic self. Friendships help us grow throughout our lives. Having supportive friends can help you on an emotional level. Often times they help you relieve stress and can even improve your own self- esteem through supporting you in every way possible. They encourage positive change and help you cope through difficult times in your life. Many times, it is easier to share with a friend because they may be more understanding than a family member.
    By the time you start college you have made many different friends. Some of the friendship have lasted and some may have not. I met my two best friends at summer camp, just after the first grade had ended. We have been best friends since then. Though my family has supported me greatly, my friends have supported me on a different level. We know everything about each other. We help each other through good and bad times. Many of my happiest memories have been with them. I am even close with their parents and grandpa; I have been on many of their family vacations. Now that we are going to different colleges this fall, saying good bye to my best friends feels just as difficult, if not more, as saying good bye to my parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. We have a created a special bond throughout the years and see each other almost every day. I believe that friends are family.

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  17. Everyone has a story. Everyone you see on social media, or pass on the street, even that person who handed you your coffee at the drive through this morning has a story that has shaped them into the person they are today. Sometimes it’s the best moments of our lives that resonate with us when we think of our story, but often, our story is written by our hardships. When I think of my story, it starts with me as the child of an incredibly strong mother and an alcoholic father, a situation that I’m sure many reading this can relate to. At the time my parents were together and I was witnessing and hearing constant fights, some more intense than others, and seeing my mother get treated terribly, my young mind could only ask “why is this happening to my family?”. None of my other friends had parents that did this, what was wrong with mine? I was too young to understand the complexity of the situation. All I knew was that my father was a different person before and after drinking from that red and white can.

    As time went on, and I got older, the situation got increasingly worse, and my brothers and I all picked up on that. Therefore, it came to little surprise that my parents got divorced. I was of course sad because these types of changes are always difficult to adjust to. However I was happy for my mom, knowing she deserved more than to be walked all over by a drunk.

    This hardship I faced has shaped me into the person I am, and for that I am forever grateful. I learned how to be strong by watching my single mother persevere through her ups and downs. Because of this I was forced to grow up young as well, and through that I learned to be responsible and independent. I also learned that in my future relationships I will not settle for any less than what I deserve. My father is no longer in my life, however he continues to teach me priceless lessons that I will continue to use throughout the rest of my story.

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  18. Have you ever felt beyond hopeless when someone you love is in need of help? This was my constant feeling a couple of weeks ago. I had just turned 18 and my mother was in the hospital with mental and physical illnesses. The waves of my anxiety attacks and worrying piled on top of the medical problems my mother was having was way too much to handle. Since I had just turned 18, all of my friends wanted to take me out places that week to celebrate “adulthood”. Though I wanted to go have fun like everyone else, I made the decision not to. As I saw my mom, laying helplessly in a hospital bed and knowing there was nothing I could do to make her better, I stayed. Family values are way more important than going out with friends.
    Sitting there, holding her hand, I had plenty of time to think… how awful this situation was, but how my mom was going to push through it because she is so strong in every way. As millennials and future generations, we need to remember that out loved ones should always come first when they need us. They helped raised us to be the best people we can be, we should reciprocate in any way shape or form.

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  19. A few weeks after getting my license, my brother and I were heading home from school through an area with construction. I pulled over to a vacant lot to check on my car because the road felt bumpy. I called my father to notify him of my dilemma and began to change my flat tire. A few moments later, I noticed my grandfather was over my shoulder. He helped me and guided me as I put the new tire on my car. While driving on a windy road on another occasion, I quickly came upon a large fence gate that was right in the middle of the road. Sure enough, another flat tire and the front of my car was torn apart. Again, I called my father and he quickly came to my aid. My father helped me change my tire and get my car back home. I had been working on restoring a jeep for a year with my family. After having it on the road for only 9 days, another driver ran a stop sign and totaled my jeep. My brother and I were very shaken up but unhurt. Sure enough, my family was quickly at my side. There were no scolding words, no judgments, and lots of hugs. My father asked if I had done any of these things on purpose. Then he said, “That’s why they are called accidents.” I am so glad that I have my family to rely on.

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  20. I believe that family is something that is important to every single person. An individual’s family isn’t just the people that they are related to but are the people that they learn from. Whether it be similar interests or right from wrong, family is important because it’s who you build yourself from in various ways such as your personality or even your sense of humor. Family helps show you who you can be in the future and help you through everything. They can help you through difficult times or can can even help you enjoy yourself at an event. To put it simply, family is something that we all need and is something that will teach us the important things of life.
    My own family is very important to me and is something that I cherish above all else. My family has shown me the benefits of working hard towards your goals and the good that I’m able to do for others. Another point about family that is important to me is that I consider others part of my family. I have several friends and role models who i have known for years who have had a tremendous impact on my life. These people are just as dear to me as my family because we act like siblings with each other and all care about each other in that way.
    To conclude, family is something that everyone needs and consists of those who will help you throughout your life. Family doesn’t have to be just the people that we are directly related to. Our families can be our friends and those who we care deeply for because of how they impact our lives and how we impact theirs.

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  21. What do I value in life? What is most important to me? Family. The definition of family is people who are there for you when you need someone, make you feel good about yourself, or believe in you. Having positive vibes around you makes a great atmosphere and that is exactly what my family brings me. My family such as my mother, father, and siblings, believe in everything I do and with them by my side I know I can accomplish big things.

    I have my mother who never stopped believing in me. She tells me everyday that she knows I’m capable of doing amazing things in life which makes me feel extra motivated. I also have my father who taught me about self love. He still goes on and on about how my happiness should be most important to myself, I know my father is someone I could always talk to. Lastly, my sibling. My siblings are my lifelong best friends. We grew up together so any stupid thing I say or do, they already expect that from me but they never judge because obviously best friends don’t question they just join in.

    Without family would I even be where I am today? I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t even be who I am today if it weren’t for them. By them believing in me, they taught me how to believe in myself. I know I’ll always have someone there to express my feelings too and also have a good time with.

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  22. Going through The Blog I noticed that many posts were very personal, so I’ve come to the decision to write my personal story. For me family is a bit of a complicated subject, especially regarding my father. My parents divorced when I was a year old so I was very accustomed to the shared time thing from the very beginning. Honestly, I don’t remember much of my early childhood from the ages of three to five like most people. I only remember smidgens of details and a couple of visual recreations. I won’t deny that I spent time with him and that he made me happy on one or two occasions. It’s just that those happy times made the abandonment and lack of effort he displayed at times confusing. As I got older it got worse and now I could understand what was really going on with him. I realized that he never really understood how to be a good father and that he was a really selfish and defeated person. And last year I told him I didn’t want to have contact with him. Though the fear of growing up to be like him will haunt me my entire life I have comfort in knowing that I can make my own family. My mother and step-father have been very supportive and I’m confident that they will continue to help me further on the path of adulthood. Though I’m moving across this smaller state I know that they’re also family.

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  23. Although today I am proud that I am Chinese, I will admit, I do try to suppress that part of my identity at times. As my mom held my hand and walked me into the first day of kindergarten, I looked up at her and asked her not to tell anyone I was Chinese. At five years old I understood that I was different from most of the other kids in my school. At first glance, my almond eyes might define me to others, but that would be their mistake. I am in between two cultures. My world is sometimes disjointed as I am firmly planted somewhere in the middle, but it taught me not to judge others at first glance. Do not assume I am a math genius and can fluent speak Chinese. Do not assume I spend all my time searching for my birth family. Do not assume anything about me because I can guarantee that my life is very different than anyone’s expectations. My almond eyes connect me to something I know very little about but still hold close to my heart. Every fiber of my being has been forever connected to my redhead mom and sister and my gray haired dad. These are the three individuals who I look nothing like, but somehow eighteen years ago in an orphanage in China I was perfectly “matched” to. These are the people who have taught me that I am loved, that I am important, and that I am perfect just the way I am.

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  24. Growing up, my family and I always spent time at my grandparents’ house. My grandparents have eight children, twenty-five grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, so their house was always full. Throughout my childhood, my cousins and I spent most of our summers with them. Most of our parents had full time jobs and were not always able to have time off with us. They would spend time at the pool with us, play games, and take us out for ice cream. During my elementary school days my grandfather would drive my sister and I to and from school every morning. Despite growing older and more independent, my grandparents were still a huge part of my life.
    One thing I did not realize growing up was my grandfather’s illness. He suffered from melanoma and leukemia on a daily basis, but kept his pain hidden. When I was old enough, I learned more about his cancer and how it affected his life. Although he was going through chemotherapy, he never looked sick. I would have never known by looking at him that he had cancer. He had been in remission for a few years and everyone was relieved because we believed that the worst was over. Then, in February 2018 my grandfather was rushed to hospital by ambulance. After days of tests and waiting for results my family was told that he had stomach cancer and that the survival rate was not good. After about two weeks, he was released from the hospital, but returned a few days later and this time he would be there for over a month. My family stayed by his side every day he was there. The hardest part about visiting him was seeing how sick he had become. He had grown pale, he could barely eat, and had lost a lot of weight since the first time he was admitted. I could see the cancer taking a toll on him and his body.
    After months of being in the hospital, it was announced in June 2018 that my grandfather was in remission. Despite everything awful that had happened over the course of those months, I believe that everything happens for a reason. This difficult time in my life made me become a stronger person and helped me realize not to take people for granted. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so never miss the chance to tell those closest to you how much you love them.

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  25. Family is very important to me. I was raised by my biological parents and have one sibling, an older sister. I love them all dearly and have never had any serious altercation with any of them to damage my relationships. My family is very supportive of each other, and are kind and friendly people to all whom they encounter. Due to being raised in this environment, I possess a very strong sense of the importance of family. However, my biological family is not the only source of this conviction, as multiple other sources have contributed greatly to it. One of the most major of these sources is the Christian Youth Conference or CYC in Ocean Park, Maine. It is a two week summer camp, which meets every August and includes worship services, small group discussions, leadership and religious classes, and several activities more devoted to entertainment. The most important part of this Conference, however, is undoubtedly the people. The community fostered by the conference is incredibly tightly knit, and many people share things that are very important or sensitive, in front of people that they may not have met more than a week ago. The reason for this is that the conference generates a sense of family among both students and staff, though few are actually related to one another, that is often stronger than the bonds many members have with their own biological families. I grew up going to this camp, almost every year, and as a result of that, my appreciation of the value of family, whether it be literal family or a non-biological group, has grown throughout my life, into the belief in family I hold today.

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  26. Most people probably think of family as people with the same bloodline as you. Google defines family as “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household”. This may be true for some, but I believe family are people that bring you pure happiness, support you and make you your best self. This may not always be the people with the same bloodline as you, some people make their own families. They find people that truly love them for them and this may be friends or co-workers. I’m lucky to say I have both the family I was born into and my chosen family. I have amazing parents and siblings that give me endless love and support. They constantly bring me happiness and push me to do my best. I also have my chosen family, my five best friends. I have been friends with each of them since elementary school, but we all became friends in middle school. Our friend group made it through both middle school and high school, so I think we can make it through life. These girls bring me so much happiness, constantly making me laugh and going on crazy adventures together. Family is so important to me, I know these people are always there for me. I also know being apart of a family is a responsibility as well as a joy. You must also provide your people with constant love and support to show your appreciation. I truly believe I am my best self around my family because of their endless support and love.

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  27. I believe that family is an essential aspect of life. Everyone needs family to help them get through life, whether it be friends that you consider family or your blood relatives. Families come in all shapes and sizes but in the end they should be filled with love and support. Personally, my family are close knit and know just about everything in each other’s lives. I understand that some are not fortunate enough to be born into a supportive and loving family, but you can build your own family over time with close friends. I believe it is important to be open with your family about most if not all things, it can bring you closer together in the long run. For instance, when my Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, my mother told me rather than me finding out on my own. This way, we helped each other mentally and went through all the emotions together with no resentment. My mother is my best friend because of how open we are with each other. It is much easier to go about life having those close to you whom you can talk to and exchange advice with. Recently, as grim as it may sound, I’ve been thinking about/fearing death. It has caused me to think a lot about the people I’m surrounded by and how much I need to appreciate them. It’s important to spend time with all of those you love before they are gone, life is short and it should be spent around those people.

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  28. After realizing my unconditional love for animals would not lead me down the veterinary path, I discovered my strong desire to work with children who are struggling within their families. Growing up in a small town, most people believe that it is a predominantly safe place to live, where nothing bad takes place, but this is a facade. Those who suffer from neglect or abuse are ignored or hidden from the world, including myself. Originally, I grew up in Milton where I lived with my mom, my dad, and my older sister. When I was about six months old, my dad tragically passed away by a self inflicted gunshot. I was very young at the time and did not remember much, but after his sudden death, my mom decided to move to Walpole. After a few years of living in Walpole, my mom met another man and brought him into our lives. This man was nice, protective, and a role model for my sister and I. Soon after, we realized that his ‘nice guy act’ was just a facade. As I got older, his real self began to show through. For years, I watched as he physically and mentally abused my mom, my sister, and even myself. He would threaten and harass me, but I couldn’t tell my mom because I was frightened by him. As for my mom, she could not leave him because she was scared of what he might do to our family. He was employed as a prison guard and made threats to use that against us if we went disrespected him. Eventually, due to a leak in the ceiling, the three of us lived in an apartment, while he stayed in the house. During this time, my mom found out about the horrible things he was doing, such a sexually assaulting my sister for years, but threatening her to stay quiet. She finally said enough is enough and went to the police to send him to jail. During this period of my life, I was still not at an age that I could understand everything that was happening, but for the things I did understand, I blamed my mother. Although I should not have, I blamed her for the struggle we went through and not doing something about it sooner. I experienced the worst time in my life and it greatly impacted how I perceive “perfect families”. I now believe, that the families that put on a perfect facade have their own dark sides, too. This difficult situation in my life has paved the way of who I am today and who I would like to become in my future. I believe that there are families out there in the world who are still struggling today and cannot overcome these hardships like my mother did. They are frightened to tell someone about their struggles because they are ashamed and scared of the consequences. Due to this life changing event, I want to use my strength and experience in these situations to help other children survive and overcome abuse and neglect.

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  29. Everyone says family does not mean to be “blood related”. Family does not have to be the people that created your life. I have been put into a position that proved that statement as both true and false. Growing up I was moved away from my relatives but in a weird way it made me closer to them. I would go back to my home state every summer to visit and we would pick up right where we left off. I personally always thought no matter how far you stray, your family will always be willing to pull you back in.
    Then I met someone who changed how I viewed the word family. His family showed him once you cross the line, there is nothing to come home too. After that, so many people took him in and treated him like the version of family I knew. Whether they knew him for a year or a few weeks, everyone showed him how he should be treated by loved ones.
    From those two points in my life I have learned you do not need to share DNA with a person to call them, mom, dad, brother, or sister, but at the end of the if you show you want to go back and make the effort to open the door, your family will unlock it. These points in my life prove to me family is who cares for you with their whole heart no matter where you come from or where you go.

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  30. I think that in any type of relationship, you can’t tell what is going to happen to that relationships in that future. This summer, after graduating from high school, I finally came back to Japan to see my family but to also see my old friends. Not all the friends I met were my closest friends but I can definitely tell that we got closer because I grew up, mentally. These friends used to be so mean to me and was always making fun of me but because I grew up, I didn’t feel like that was a big problem at all for me that was still an elementary student but I could’ve changed the way I think. Now that I have grown up mentally, I can think of the situation differently in a way that makes me and the other person, both in a good situation. They still makes fun of me but now I can tell if they mean it in a bad way or just joking around. I believe that if you change the way you think, you can make the situation so much better. If you force the others to think like you, they won’t think like you but stay like how they are or it’ll get worse. You never know what the other person is going through to act like that. Same with parents, I learned that people don’t change their mind so easily but if you try and change yourself, you can change others by showing how you are not bothered by it. I believe that for any type of relationship, only yourself can make it better.

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  31. Family means everything to me. My sister is the most important person to me and without her I would be lost. She is not only my sister but my best friend as well. I am so blessed to always have her to go to with anything. She is the one who picks me up when I am down and always knows how to make me smile. The relationship goes both ways my sister always comes to me whenever she needs advice and although it might not be what she wants to here she knows I am looking out for her. Family is forever and no matter what arguments my sister and I get into there is no way in breaking our friendship. This is why family is the most important thing to me and I’m so grateful for that.

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  32. Family is one of the most important things in life. I believe family is all you need in life. If I didn’t have my mom, I would not be who I am today. When I was 14 my dad passed away. I was much closer to him than I was to my mother. And now my mom was all I had. As time went on, my mom and I got to the point where we became practically sisters. We tell each other everything and do the same things together as I would do with my friends. I am so glad that our bond has grown so strong and it really makes me realize how important our relationship and family is to me. Our bond has completely grown and I am so grateful for that. My mom had made me see how important family can be.

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  33. Family has always been a difficult subject for me but recently I lost one of the most important people in my life. My dad recently took his own life about 3 months ago. I remember the day so vividly; I remember the drive home, turning around the corner and seeing those awful blue lights. I already knew when I saw those stupid lights. I threw my car in park and ran down my driveway. An officer took me inside and asked me to sit down, he told me my father hung himself. I remember just feeling numb, like my life just ended there in itself. I just got accepted to my top school, my last day of high school was tomorrow, I graduate and turn 18 in a week and I think how could he do this to me. But I went to school the next day, I walked across that stage, and I still turned 18. I just remember the days of the funeral and wake just being numb like this couldn’t be real. I walked into the funeral home and instantly smelled incense, it was so strong and burnt my nose kind of like burning plastic. I stood there hugged, shook hands, and cried, those few hours felt like days. I think about what if I just stayed home that day or what if I just told him I loved him one more time. Being someone who has dealt with self harm and depression then watching my dad do what he did and watching how it affected my mom, my grandma, my aunts, uncles, I appreciate all of them a lot more. This individual raised me, adopted me, and called me his own when my biological father wouldn’t and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

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    • Dear Abigail, I am so sorry for your loss. Your dad’s legacy is not yours; you are your own person and we look forward to the person you will grow to be a UMassD.

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  34. Family can help you get through tough times. When my grandmother had cancer my family came together despite the fact that most live in Puerto Rico, while some live in Massachusetts. After hurricane Maria happened my grandparents were already in a bad place, then my grandmother discovered that she had breast cancer. The doctors in Puerto Rico couldn’t do much to help her due to the insufficient resources after hurricane Maria. They decided to come to Massachusetts. My grandmother suffers from depression so knowing she had cancer triggered it a bit more. She needed love and support from her family. My uncle came to Massachusetts to be here for her while she went through surgery. The core family had been reunited. She was happy to be with her husband, her kids and grandkids.The day of her surgery everyone went to the hospital. We were the biggest family in there, we made ourselves comfortable knowing we were going to be there for hours. After the surgery, the doctor came out and said we could see her. When I walked in she looked like she was in a lot of pain but once she saw us she had the biggest smile on her face. She was relieved the fight was over, especially since she knew her mother had died from cancer which made her scared that the same might happen to her. What truly got her through it was her family, we made sure to let her know she was loved. We got her the best doctors in Boston and fought with her through every obstacle that came our way. Family are those who help you when you need it most.

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    • Mirelis, thank you so much for sharing your story! I agree with you, it’s so important for family to support each other. It was so touching to hear how your whole family came together when your grandmother needed it and how happy she was to have you all there. Wishing all the best to you and your family!

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  35. This summer has been the most formidable summers of my life. I’ve had my highest highs and my lowest lows. My summers used to consist of staying in my room and playing world of warcraft with the same friends I had since 8th grade. But this year something changed when we were still in school, around a mouth before we got out of school I meet two lifelong friends in my math class. I loved hanging out with them as we would just sit and talk in the parking lot after school for what seemed like 5 min but was really like an hour or two. And then one Saturday they invited me to a friend of theirs house because they knew I was kind of an introvert and was big on leaving the house. So, I said whatever packed up my trusty water bottle and headed over I got there before them so it was a little awkward at first but a few jokes later and we were all having a good time. The entire summer I have hung out with this same group of people nearly more than my own family. I began to realize that family is not defined by your last name, it is defined by the people you make meaningful connections with. I came out to this group of friends and they we super accepting of me. While I still have not come out to my “real” family I do not think I will at least not in the foreseeable future. I believe that family is not by last names but the people you make connections with along the way.

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  36. Family to me means a group of people no matter what happens they have got you back and you have there’s. Through thick and thin no matter what happens you always have each other’s back. Family can consist of different people it doesn’t have to be your direct relatives. It can be friends, neighbors, even maybe your boss or coworkers. To me in order to be considered family, you have to have these characteristics and many more along with a great relationship or connection. F stands for friendliness, you can’t be rude and arrogant and despicable everyone has their bad days but as a family we’ll get through them together. A stands for appreciative, you have to enjoy and be thankful for what people help you with and what they would do for you. M is for mindful, you can’t work alone in a family you have to be mindful of others situations and problems. You have to have empathy but also have to be realistic. I stands for irreplaceable, when you’re apart of the family that means we are together till the end nothing can break this bond or connection apart. L stands for laid back not everything has to be done right away set a goal or a timeframe and get it done. Don’t be in a rush but also don’t be lazy, just be chill. Finally Y stands for young at heart. Don’t live to be lame don’t always dwell on things have fun and live life to the fullest possible! Everyone has different families but what differentiates and separates one another from each other is the real meaning of family

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  37. Throughout the years, friends have come and gone, interests/hobbies have changed and evolved but my family’s love and support has always been the most consistent. Growing up, and being so close to my family has made me who I am today, and i couldn’t be more grateful. Both of my parents, immigrated here not knowing the language nor the culture, and all they had were their parents and siblings. My Grandparents made it a priority that my family get together as often as possible.My brothers and I always looked forward to the family parties, where we could hang out and laugh with all of our cousins. Enjoying all the family parties has taught me the importance of family and has given some of my fondest memories.I don’t know what I would do without the close bond with my family, and I sure wouldn’t want to find out.

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  38. Family is what everyone want, family is something that people live for, just having family to be around is the best thing ever and I cherish those moments because life is short and anything can happen in a second and you wouldn’t even think it would happen but it happen. The lost of my aunt has really changed me. My aunt on my dad side kept the family together. She would always love doing things as a family and keep the family united as one. Once she died it was so hard because the family was so heart broken it’s like the only peace was token from all and no one knew it was going to be so soon. Than months after I started loosing even more people that I love so dearly. Family should be valued because anything and I mean anything can happen in short notice of time. Sometime having people that’s not even blood means everything because you can meet someone and just become so close to them because you love the feeling of having someone there and treating you like family. Cherish those sweet moments.

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  39. My father decided it was best if we left the “burden” of raising a newborn to my mother, and so growing up a lonely child with just my mother, I did have some doubts and self conscious thoughts about how my definition of ‘home’ and ‘family’ compared to others, especially those with both parents.

    When I was seven years old, my mother found a family in need of a nanny, the Damask family, who lived in Somerville. Taking care of their back then only son, Jay, she would bring me over and I would play with the one year old. Then, in fifth grade – when I was ten years old – our living situation in East Boston got hard. And so they brought us, my mom and myself, into their home and treated us like a part of their family and gave me and my family opportunities I never thought would be possible as a fifth grader. Now, eleven years later, my home has become that house I grew up and live in to this day in Somerville, MA.

    Also in fifth grade, I met the person that would stick with me throughout middle school and high school, the person who would become my best friend, Akkun Fujishiro. Countless times has he gone out of his way to support and reassure me. I recall once, when at a home volleyball game, my fiery competitiveness got the upper hand of my emotions, and I got super frustrated with myself and my team. Having been up for two sets, we let ourselves go. The score was now tied after being up two-zip. I entered the locker room by myself, discontented with our performance, and trying to recuperate and prepare for the final set. Akkun entered the locker room. He sat next to the locker I was at and comforted me. After a minute or two of silence, he said “It’s now or never dude. Time to start playing like the best player on the team. When you set foot on that court, nobody’s better than you. Let’s go”. With those words in mind, I left the locker room and huddled with my team, talking strategy and improvements + adjustments. The whistle blew for the fifth set to begin, but not before a passionate fire had been lit in my team and myself. Through every second of the game, I kept repeating under my breath the words my best friend had just told me.

    Home became them. Home became my family. Living with the Damask Family and growing up with my best friend Akkun gave me the opportunity to redefine family, recognizing that it is not only the people in my life that are related to me. Family became the people in my life who care about my well being, people who care about my needs, my goals, and the path to reaching them. My family became the people who didn’t give up when things got hard, but those who pushed me during those times. My family were those who never gave up on me, no matter the cost. My understanding of family grew beyond just my immediate relatives. Home became a place where I do not just sleep and wake up at. Home became wherever my family is.

    This, I believe, is the true meaning of having a home, of having a family.

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  40. Growing up in the Dominican Republic has played the most important role in my life in terms of what I am today and how I see life. Being a lucky girl to grow up playing outside my house in the garden, arriving from school to eat my hot food and then go out to play without worrying about anything, made me a happy person who appreciates the little things in life as if they were nothing. My mom teaching me how to cook and my dad how to make bread or even how to change a tire from a car were unforgettable moments that I’d like to repeat again. By maintaining a good connection with my parents I have been able to learn to acquire the best things of both, the sensitivity of my mother in her actions and the love she gives to everything she does and the way of thinking like my dad. I use both ways continuously to the point that many times I don’t even notice it but it is something that I like enough, knowing that I can honor his name in everything I do. As a Latina woman who traveled to the United States of America, I want to show myself and the world that the standards should be destroyed by the effort we put in each day. I strongly believe that raising your backgrounds is the easiest way to paint the world of others in colors and make them remember the signature of your art.

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  41. Family means everything to me because for the past few years I lost so many lost ones that kept my family together. Being far from my family can sometimes be depressing but this one hit home. My dad called me early in the morning when I was about to go to school and told me my aunt died and he’s in the hospital he couldn’t even get the chance to go to his sister funeral because he was so sick and I’m all the way in Boston and my mom couldn’t get a ticket for my sisters and I because it was a lot of money so I was just so heart broken and I never got the chance to tell her I love her and I’m sorry for her being in so much pain. Cherish those moments with your family because anything can happen.

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  42. Family has various meanings to different people and no set definition but to me family is the center of our life, what we focus on and is one thing I am proud to say I strongly believe in. Family drives the decisions I make and is always there to push me to beyond what I set my own limits to be. Family has helped me break through the limits I set for myself and accomplish even greater things for myself. My parents have instilled many values in my siblings and I from a young age and I could not be more grateful for the experiences that they have filled out life’s with. I have learned to never take my family for granted I remember seeing my grandparents almost every single day until the day my grandpa got sick, those were the hardest months of my entire family’s life. He fought a hard six months but before we knew it there was no more visits or sitting down to face “the claw”. It took everyone in the family a while to get back into our normal routines but as soon as we did tragedy struck our family once again when we found out my uncle was sick and in a matter of months he had been reunited with my grandpa before we could even process how sick he truly was. Through these tragedies my family has been able to truly cherish what we have because when you lose someone they are gone forever, and you cannot just get them back and that is the hardest part of losing someone you love. Cherish every moment you get with your family blood or not because you never know when they will not be there for you one day.

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  43. I’ve always believed that when times are tough I can turn to my family for support, especially this summer. Soon after my graduation, my mom started to constantly feel ill and unable to breathe. She went to the emergency room four separate times and was told every time she had the beginning stages of pneumonia; however, even though prescribed medication she still couldn’t catch her breath. When she returned to the hospital a resident had told her she had a heart attack and needed to be transferred to the cardiac floor immediately. I remember sitting in the car with my dad and brother thinking of the worst scenario after he told us the news, but I never would have prepared myself to walk into her room and see several wires attached to her chest and doctor after doctor describing the triple bypass surgery she’d be needing. We soon began telling our family the news and while my father was at work and my mom was in the hospital, they would come over the house with food and offers to bring us to see her whenever we wanted. My aunt and grandma came over every day to check on us and make sure we were okay. After two weeks of being in the hospital we came to the conclusion my mom wouldn’t be home for my graduation party, so we cancelled it. Friends and family understood and were supportive of my decision, but on June 22nd, I was invited to my aunt’s house for a family dinner. I went over that night and they had thrown me a graduation party and invited some of my closest friends over to spend time with me so I wasn’t worrying about my mom as much. My mom came home the next day and next week will be back at the hospital for her surgery, but because of my family and their constant support and help, I’m not stressed about her recovery like I was before.

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  44. Family is a huge part of my life. I grew up with three older sisters, so I watched as they grew up and always wanted to be like them. I think from having all older siblings I got to experience a lot of things at an earlier age, and it made me mature at a younger age too. Outside of my immediate family, I have twenty cousins on my mom’s side and seven on my dad’s side. Every year, the entire family on my mom’s side travels to Bethany Beach, Delaware, and we all stay in one house for a week. I see my dad’s side of the family for most holidays every year. I recognize that I’m extremely lucky to have not only such a closely-knit immediate family, but an extremely strong bond with my extended family as well. From being so close with them, this bond also helps me recognize that family doesn’t just have to be your blood relatives, but it can be created with different people around you. There are many different versions of family, and I’m a big believer that one can be made through close communities like UMass Dartmouth.

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  45. Role Models.
    I believe there is no such thing as the ideal role model. Not a single soul walking on this Earth is perfect, but the ones walking around you, could be the ones you look up to in specific aspects of life. Growing up, my mother always told me to look up to my older brother for guidance to navigate through the world. My mother looked for my older brother to pave a path of success for his younger siblings. Because of this, I had already had a structured life set out for me. My older brother had set a mold for me, one I had to conform myself to for my mother to be proud of me. What my mom didn’t know was that my brother was everything I feared of becoming because academically, he had hit a wall. He was never academically gifted, no one truly was. He made mistakes, which makes him human. But he was my older brother, and I believe you can always pull something out of older brothers, that’s the kind of bond we’ve always had. My brother never took the conventional route, and that’s why I looked up to him. To him, it was never how you got to your destination as long as you got there, and that’s a value I’ve instilled in myself. I looked up to his hustle, determination, and perseverance. Those are qualities anyone needs to become successful despite the path they take. I take these beliefs to UMass Dartmouth with me because I know I will encounter numerous obstacles and to that, I will keep in mind it’s not the bumps on the road that defines me, but it’s where I decide to travel that does.

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  46. A letter to my mom.

    Dear Mom,

    I remember growing up and going on vacations with Grandma, camping trips Grandpa, all the basketball games, laughing so hard it made our stomachs hurt and moving the living room coffee table for the countless dances parties we had while dad was at work.
    I also remember when we didn’t have hot water and you would heat water on the stove so we could bathe before bed, losing heat so we would all jump in you and Dad’s bed to have a “slumber party”, I remember you crying on dad’s birthday because the neighbor stole all the money from your purse.
    Despite the hardships going on in our lives, you wore a smile on your face helping us kids get on the bus to school and taught us, kids, to be kind, grateful and honest. All these memories and lessons shaped me into the person I am today. I know the value of money and how it’s not everything, I learned to tell you the truth, and that I can tell you anything without judgment and I learned the importance of family and how a parent’s love is unconditional. You showed me that even if the world is falling, the family would still be there to pick me right back up again.
    I want to say thank you. Thank you for trying your hardest for me even when it was hard and now, I’m trying my hardest to make a better life for me and you.

    With gratitude,
    Jayda Ford

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  47. To tell you the truth the question on what I believe in and why, had me stumped. It took me days and weeks to try and figure it out. I asked the people around me and most said family, women’s rights, abortion, freedom of love and many more. Even after hearing the answers of the people around me I still had to look deep within myself to truly know what I believe in without the influence of the environment around me. I have come to the conclusion that I believe in the need, want and love of family. Let me tell you why I came to this conclusion. Family to me is not defined not by blood but by those who stand by you through thick and thin and those you push you for greatness. Thinking of the things that have pushed me to this point and to be able to write this blog for the school I will attend to is all rooted from the push of the people I consider family. My moms are my life and so is my father they are one the many reason i work hard everyday in my life to achieve my dreams to make them proud, for them to be able to hold their head up and say she is mine. If you noticed I said moms, Their are very two important women in my life the one that gave birth to me and the one that raised me. My moms are my backbone the ones i lean on in the times of weakness. My father is my tradition and culture he is the one that reminds me of where i come from and of who I am. As he says “You are an african child a queen in your own right never forget your past and let it build your future.” My family and i might have moments of disagreement but that is alright because family is forever no matter the situation. I am happy with the people I surround myself with because they are what make me who I am, the fights we go through make us grow stronger and better. This I Believe.

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  48. My grandma’s transition in to the United States was very difficult. She lived in a small apartment, in a rough neighborhood, with practically no furniture and only an air mattress to sleep on. My grandmother found a job working in a local restaurant as a chef. She did not mind the job because she did all the cooking back at home. She would clock in at seven am and leave at nine pm, exhausted and drained. She knew she had to endure it because it was the only way she could get her family back. Every night once she finally got home after work she would sit down and mourn the loss of her husband. It was unbearable for her to be without him, and without the comfort of her family she felt alone. Wednesday at six was when she was at her happiest; it was the only time she could speak to her daughters back home. She would ask them to tell her about everything as if she never left. When they asked about her, she would ignore the question. She worried if she told them the truth they would pity her. Finally, after thirteen years of hard work, my grandmother made enough to reunite their family. My grandma’s determination for her family inspires me to work just as hard as she worked for us.I moved to the United States at eight-years-ld. It was tough, having to learn a new language and being the only non-white person in my class. Throughout the years, I experienced acts of discrimination and racism. However, I followed the example of my grandmother and pushed through so that one day I could help my family just like she did.Similar to my grandmother, my motivation to work hard comes from my desire to support my family. A college degree will allow me to secure a well-paying job in order to help my family financially. In college, I plan to study computer science, and so I will not only be working towards a career, but I will be learning a subject I enjoy.I know college will not be easy, but I am determined to be the first person in my family to attend and graduate college.

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  49. Family. Family is something that everyone has. Some might have big families , and some might have small ones. Friends are often the ones who turn into family when you least expect it. Family does not always have to be blood related. Family does not always have the same last name as you. In fact, the ones who aren’t blood related are often the ones who look out for you the most. Family is extremely important to have, because they are the ones that will get you through anything. We all need someone to lean on when times are rough. That someone for me, is my best friend.
    My best friend is someone who I consider as family. This past year has been very difficult for me, and she stuck by my side through it all. There were times that I was not comfortable enough to talk to my actual family about how I was feeling, but my best friend was there for me. There were times where I just felt like giving up on everyone and everything, but my best friend motivated me to keep going. There were times where I felt like I didn’t have a family just because we weren’t as close as we should me. I have six brothers and one sister, and I couldn’t turn to one of them to talk to them about how I was feeling. My best friend was there. At the end of the day, my best friend was there for me when my family wasn’t. I do not want to talk down on my family because they are great. They just did not have the same emotional support that my best friend had for me.

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  50. The word Family means a lot to me, my ideal definition of a family is respect, love , protect, and accept you no matter who you are. Family will always have your back and keep pushing you to do better in life and give you advice. Every family is going to be different in its own way and the people who are born in to a caring, loving and supportive family is very fortunate. Not everyone gets to be born in that ideal type of family. When growing up you think your blood relatives is your family but they might not be to you, in a different case your group of friends could be known as family. I’m a very fortunate person to be born into that kind of family. I love being able to talk to them whenever there is a problem or there is a problem going on among us. They help to make you who you are. Your family can shape your beliefs and personality also instilling with moral values. I’m fortunate to have the family I got and the friends that are known as family. Unconditionally love and support coming from them helps me not feel alone in this world. They will boost your self esteem no matter what thanks to their love for you. My family brings the best out of me and always make me happy. It’s best to always spend time with your family also good to have family traditions that brings because you never know when you could lose one. That’s scary thing part of life losing your close ones and it could happen any day.

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  51. I come from 2 very different worlds. My mother grew up in a middle class family with little hardships, living a seemly perfect life with her mom, dad, and sister, and doesn’t remember when her family even got here it was so long ago. I don’t know them very well but enough to know that they are also very conservative. For most of my life I didn’t know that my grandfather was actually my step grandfather, and that my real one hadn’t been seen since my moms high school graduation. My amazing family on my fathers side of however had a very different life! My grandparents lived in Austria during the World War 2, and still to this day don’t talk much about what they saw. We will be sitting at the dinner table and my Oma insists we have a clean plate and if we don’t she goes on a tangent about how people are starving all over the world and would kill for the little scraps we overlook. That’s about as much as we get. Even though they like to keep that life away from the one they have right now, it never really leaves you. Me and my dad are trying to put all the pieces together of what happened, its like a puzzle, but instead of starting off with all the pieces, we get random ones randomly throughout our lives. But even with everything they went through and not trusting themselves because of it, they always made me feel like I’m making the right decision for in every situation. That I was strong enough to do anything I wanted too. I learned more from them then anyone around me. I believe that family, by blood or by friendship, is about having people to build you up. To make you realize how lucky you are and how grateful you should be for the life you have. To make you stronger because they had to be, stronger because they know you can be.

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  52. Family is my driving force in life. It’s the one thing in my life that is always there and never falters. However, with that being said, I do not believe that family is just made up of people who share the same DNA. I have been blessed with family members that do share the same DNA and I have also been blessed with people who are unrelated to me but I still consider family. My parents got divorced when I was 9 years old which when I was that age changed everything I knew about family and for a little while it felt like my family was never going to be a “family” anymore. However I was so wrong, my family didn’t end when I was 9 years old, my family started to grow and change for the better. Both of my parents have significant others who come with their own families who I am so thankful for. I used to say they are all my extended family but they truly are just family. When people treat you like family and love you like family then they are your family. I don’t think blood should have anything to do with family, blood gives you an immediate family the minute you are born but the number of family members should only grow from blood as we live our lives.

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  53. Growing up in Marin county is like growing up in a sheltered cocoon wrapped in bubble wrap. It wasn’t always easy living there though with housing costs rising so much I was moving to a new house every year or two. My parents got divorced when I was 3 so I don’t really remember them ever being together. What I do remember was how hard it was for my mom to get by as a single mother with 2 kids.
    As a kid I didn’t notice it as much but as I got older I saw that my mom always had more then one job and work long hours. She would come home exhausted still make dinner and be able to help me with my homework. Her sacrifices are why I am here today she pushed me to be great but humble and to not make the mistakes she made in life. My mom would do anything for me and my sister but money held her back like it holds a lot of us back. Junior year came around and my mom couldn’t afford to live in Marin anymore. She moved to San Jose for work and it felt like my world was falling apart. She was 2 hours away and felt like I lost my mom. It crushed me and yet I couldn’t help think I can’t get mad that I don’t see my mom as much because there are other kids who never get to see there mom. The worst part was realizing it hurt my mom even more then it hurt me not being able to see each other everyday. She supported me through my sports when I didn’t think I could play anymore due to injury and pushed me in the classroom to get to the college that I desired.
    I don’t want money to be the reason I can’t live my life happily. I don’t want money to be the reason my kids can’t see me or to the reason my kids don’t know who there grandparents are just because plane ticket is to expensive. We are controlled and influenced by money I want to break the cycle in my family make my money work for me. Money can’t fix problems but it gives you options and freedom and that’s all you can ask for in life.

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  54. When I think about my family, no words can describe how grateful I am for them every day. There are obstacles that we have faced that have brought us closer together to create a bond so sacred. Recently my father was diagnosed with cancer and it took a toll on all of us. When my father first learned the diagnosis, his depression got worse. However, he managed to overcome it and continue to do the best he could for his family. He had to endure three different surgeries and we were all there so he could see us before surgery and afterwards. Seeing us after waking up is what would put a smile on his face. We wanted him to know that no matter what happened we would always be there for him. Even though it was difficult for us to watch him go through everything we stayed strong. It was easy to notice that my mother was hurting. When she moved to the United States from Canada, my father was the first person she met. He watched over her and protected her. She knew that she wanted to be with him for the rest of her life. Watching him battle cancer took a major toll on her but she was strong. She wanted to be for him. She never let him see her cry, she just took care of him and her children.
    Together they’ve worked tirelessly to provide my sister and I with a good life, even when there was a bump in the road, they did everything they could, and for that we’re thankful. Now we just want to make them proud and that’s what we’re doing today. My sister is getting her associates degree in culinary arts and plans on opening up her own bakery. I’m starting my college journey to become a nurse just like my mother. My sister and I want to help provide for our parents now and take care of them the way they took care of us and make them proud. Family is what I believe that guides people to do great things in life because they’re always there when you need them the most.

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  55. In my family, we are fortunate. I’ve had a relatively stable home life while growing up. I haven’t really had to fight or struggle in my life for things. My parents have helped me achieve most goals I have attempted to accomplish. I come from this background that is relatively easy compared to many other children’s lifestyles around me. When I was younger I feel I took advantage of that. I wasn’t very thankful for the many gifts I received. Even if it was just 3 meals a day. It was the little things like new clothes each school year or new cleats every football season that I just figured everyone got. There is also the big things though, like I was blessed to receive a private school education. I didn’t appreciate this when I first started at Xaverian. I definitely should’ve done more homework but that is beside the point. It didn’t strike me till I was doing volunteer work at My Brothers Keeper based out of Stoughton, Ma. While delivering furniture to families I realized I was lucky. It gave me a new perspective on life in general. I began working harder for things and appreciated a lot of things I was given. I began trying to carry myself in a more humble way and sharing my “wealth” through volunteer work and giving to the less fortunate. I hope through the rest of my life I can continue to help humanity in any possible way.

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  56. I owe everything to my parents. Even through all the hardships and times I wish my mom could just stop talking, they are still the reason why I am here. They made the sacrifice and moved from their home country to the US for a better life. Growing up I have seen them work so hard just so that my two siblings and I could have a chance. I was always a smart kid but never at the top of my class, I never had a reason to try my best in school. At least I thought that until my sophomore year of high school, my parents told me of the dreams they have for me. In a way I am a part of their retirement plan. They worked so hard to give me a good life so that I could grow up to be successful and then take care of them. The pressure I felt when I heard them say that was immense. That is when I figured out what my goal in life was. I want to be successful in life not to live comfortably but to give back to my family. Now I am on course to go through college and make that happen. I do not just believe in family being important, I believe in filial piety. If it were not for the hard work of my family I would not be where I am today.

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  57. In society today it seems as if everyone is vying for the newest technology and latest craze. People often don’t take time to be together and enjoy the simple things. In my opinion it’s being around friends and family that counts the most. Growing up we only had one television in our house not because we couldn’t afford another but because we didn’t feel it was important and even then our tv wasn’t the newest flat screen. We grew up watching shows and movies together. My family often does smaller birthdays and christmases so that we can have experiences together going on trips rather than getting stuff. We love to go cruising and it has become one of our favorite vacations. We enjoy the chance to turn off our phones and enjoy being with one another. It gives us an oppurtunity to reconnect and enjoy the true beauty of the world. Also, growing up I spent a lot of time with my moms parents. We lived in the same town and would spend weekends, holidays, and even go on vacations together. I would go there after school and visit, my grandma and I would have a snack and watch tv together. My grandfather taught me how to cook and garden. My dads family lives in New Hampshire and when we visit we always play board games or hang out by the pool. It’s these special moments that I will remember most. My moms parents have passed away and it makes me realize just how short and precious life is and that it deserves to be seen in person and not through a screen.

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  58. I guess the best place to truly start is at the beginning. When I was born I was born into a family that that didn’t care for me. A family that didn’t even want me, I mean I was their mistake. They abused me in many ways (physiologically and physically). But then on one fateful night the police came to our house. A house not even built fully, and took me and my brother away. It took about a year and over 17 forever homes and several different states. Until I finally came to Arizona, where I realized that I may never find someone worth loving besides my brother. But on one fateful day a lady walked in name Patricia Ruckert. Saw me and me brother read the files on how we were treated and decided that’s not the life she wanted for me or my brother. And took us in, shielding us from the bad, adopting us into a forever home that we could stay in for the rest of our lives. And for the first the first year I was mischievous and not wanting someone to love me but then I realized that she took me in for a reason because she wanted to LOVE me. And since then I have had the best family someone could ever ask for. Sure we have had our ups and downs but hey whats life without ups and downs? For the first couple of years my mom had lied to us to protect us. She used to say she was 25 when she first got us. And me and my brother were like okay with it for the first three years. And then she told us her real age. Do you want to know the reason why she said she was 25? Well here it is, she wanted us to know and think that she would be there for us a long time, and that she wouldn’t leave us anytime soon because of death. Because me and my brother had already had too much loss. And we weren’t about to lose someone that we finally truly cared for.So to sum this all up, life cannot be life without family. You will always need to lean on someone whether you like it or not. And family is and always will be there. Throughout my life my mom has always told me one thing. Family comes first before anything else. And you know what that’s totally true. Because if my mom didn’t give me a shoulder to lean on I wouldn’t be here. So I will forever and always believe that family comes first. Thank you everyone who has read this because this story is very close to my heart.

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  59. Life is an interesting journey but nothing is set ahead or pre-planned. As life goes on, you, with the help from others, create your own path. You make new experiences, create your own memories, and meet new people. Family is a very unique piece of life, no two families are the exact same and no family has limits. There is no line that determines who is a part of what family besides the line you create. A family is a project taken on through life, from adding or losing some members along the way. No family or person is ever perfect but that is okay, that is the reason family is there for you. I believe that the connection between family goes deeper than blood but is there for you even at your most shallow moments. They have your back through it all no matter what situation, problem, or episode is next. There have been plenty of things I have been through that I kept hidden away and dealt with on my own. Looking back on it now, it would have made things a lot better if I had just opened up to them. I believe family is the most important and personal connection for one to have. They go through life with you, physically or not they are still there for you because you are there for them. Family, isn’t the same for everyone and can be looked at in so many different ways, but that is just my belief on family. “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten.” (Lilo & Stitch)

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