Without family where do we learn values from? We are not born with values, but learn values from our families. All my values developed from my family, and as I grew into an adult, I made them my own values. As a child, one is dependent on his or her family for emotional, physical, and mental support. The way a person values things is determined by one’s upbringing. Family is the most important value to me. Without my family, where would I be? How would I interact emotionally, physically, and mentally with others?
These are the questions I ask myself when I think about the support of my family. I define family as a support network with one’s immediate family and extended family. Family is whoever an individual chooses to make family; it is people with whom one has an emotional connection and admiration. My father and I lived with my grandfather. Every morning my grandfather would wake me up and make eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast before school. On Sundays, my grandfather and I would go to the flea market and go shopping for bargains.
My grandfather loved to shop for a great deal; he wasn’t wasteful with his money, and he taught me the value of money. Now since my grandfather has passed, my father and I still go to the flea market on Sundays to shop for great deals. It is the little things my grandfather has taught me like spending time with family because we never know when it is out time to go. I never knew who my mother was as a child or as an adult. My aunts were always at my house cooking, cleaning, and visiting with my grandfather, so I was always around my cousins.
I did not grow up with my brothers because they lived with their mother, so my cousins were like my brothers. We did everything together; we would play tag, ride our bikes, build forts, and play video games. My cousins and I went to the same school and lived on the same block. I remember in elementary school my cousins were bad, and the teacher would give me a note to give to my aunt. However, I chose to be clever, and I would tease my cousins and tell them if they were not being nice to me, I would give the note to my aunt.
Every holiday was a time for the entire family to get together and celebrate. The men were either watching the game, playing cards, or playing pool. The women were either in the kitchen cooking, serving food, cleaning, or gossiping about others. Of course, the children would be playing outside of if it was winter time, we would play inside. I remember there was never a dull moment because we would always argue about who is playing with what toy. Usually when this happened, someone would go tell on the other, and then we would all get sent to time out.
Growing up, I didn’t realize how important family was until I joined the Army. I was in the military for six years and missed just about every holiday within those six years. When I was away, I would think about all the times I was him and did not realize how great my family was. I guess they saying, “You won’t miss it until it’s gone” really is a true statement. After being gone for six years, I came home, and all my family had grown up, and they had little families of their own.
Since I have been home from the Army, I have not missed a family gathering. I value the time I spend with my family, and now instead of my cousins and I outside playing, their children are the ones outside playing. It is amazing to see how large my family has grown, and it is only going to grow larger. Now, since we have grown older, the roles have changed. Instead of my uncles and aunts doing all the cooking, cleaning, playing cards it is we who are doing all these things. We are now allowed to sit at the “grown up” table.
Family is very important in overall development; it sets the foundation of values. One’s family gives a person belief of what is right and what is wrong, and it is up to the individual what to make important. Family gives guidance in life and gives to a person the rich and textured stories personal experiences. A family is a guidance counselor in life, and I would not change anything about my family. I wouldn’t know what to do without the guidance of my grandfather, father, aunts and uncles.