In the course of life an individual is usually presented with a whole host of surprises, difficulties, and turns. People learn to adjust and adapt to changes even though some of them are truly drastic and unexpected. However, there should always be one invariable thing that performs a function of a safe haven, to which one’s heart never ceases to yearn throughout the years. It is in the comfort of a family that an individual recharges positively and sets sail for the new journeys of life. I truly believe that families stand in the hub of any society as they play the most crucial role in shaping individual family members into full-fledged, self-sufficient members of the community.
There are families of unique religious and cultural backgrounds, as well as socio-economic classes. Within the last decades there appears to be an accumulation of families dubbed non-traditional. The latter should be viewed as an artificial term created by the society in order to restrict the structure of a family to an invariable formula. Religion and culture determine the principles that lay the foundation for the upbringing of children and formation of respect towards certain beliefs in life of a person. Different statuses concerning financial security might give some families more opportunities to enjoy the privileges of material gains. All these factors are of vital importance, however what should be the most salient invariable in the organization of any family is love, respect, and understanding between the family members.
To my mind, such an important structural element of society as a family is a key towards satisfying all levels of needs suggested by Abraham Maslow. I believe that the function of families is inclusive of all of the following: physiological needs, safety needs, a sense of belonging and esteem, as well as achieving individual potential through self-actualization. Families lay the foundation for all this to be realized and achieved.
Some people used to believe and still might support the idea of an “empty” mind of a new-born which is later shaped by experience, reflections, and sensations. These three factors mentioned above are considered to be the main sources of all human ideas. I believe that a person comes to this world with a certain amount of innate, pre-conceived qualities, features, and talents in their embryotic state. However, all these inborn qualities do not determine who we are. They give us a foundation for future evolution and development. This is where a family steps in. To my mind, families play the most salient part in shaping full-fledged individuals and future members of the society. Our families nurture and develop the talents we have, nourish the qualities we are born with into what later sets us apart from others and makes us special.
This is what my family did for me as an individual. My family upbringing gave me a
nudge towards developing certain qualities and growing into a better person. I was born in a tight-knit Italian family. With their own example my parents taught me and my two brothers to respect people and always treat every person with dignity. We never talked back to our parents, nor treated them with disrespect. There is no denying the fact that every family has conflicts and occasional misunderstandings. Our family was not an exception; thus once in a while we did have our conflicts. However, no matter how serious they were, we always managed to solve them peacefully by sitting down and talking about our concerns or problems. Such way of handling arguments became inherent into my habitual manner of working with people. I believe that anything can be solved with a good conversation and voicing one’s concerns. People were given a powerful gift of language and speech; therefore, they should use it in order to make progress in their relationships and everyday communication process.
My family remains the special harbor in my life that has this powerful ability to always comfort me during the times when the sea is rough. My parents have this wonderful tradition of getting together at the dinner table every Sunday, even now that their children have their own families. It is a special day we share, while putting aside the everyday troubles of ours. Family time has always been a precious time for each member of our family. No matter how busy my parents were, and how difficult it was to find the time for being together sometimes, we always managed to have our meals together, share some nice heart-warming conversations and laugh about some funny stories we had at work, at school or elsewhere. I am still truly blessed to have such a wonderful tradition continue and become a part of my life.
The lessons we learn under the influence of specific upbringing and family traditions might not be always noticeable, however, when we ponder about them in retrospect, we realize how salient our families were in shaping us as individuals. Growing up in a family where we all respected each other made me a person who seeks respect and dignity in other people. I am not tolerable of disrespect; thus, when I am working with a client, it becomes one of the first things I take notice of.
My understanding of a healthy family was largely shaped by my own experience. I was blessed to grow up surrounded by love, understanding, and respect. While I realize that there is no invariable and stable formula for a family, I see these things as the highest priority for any family. Families are different and unique in their structure, organization, type of relationships and trust, routines, and traditions. Given the diversity of modern society, it is only natural that the family structure will also undergo certain degree of diversification, certain aspect that there are to a family structure should never change. These aspects are fairly obvious and represented in the amount of love, respect, and warmth shared by the family members.
My parents believed that the best way to help their children become kind people is to show them how to be ones; therefore, it has always been their example that guided me throughout all these years. It made me a kind of person who believes in goodness of all people. On the other hand, I was raised as a proponent of the idea that actions are louder than words. Therefore, when I get to know my clients, I try to analyze facts and events, instead of trusting the words and promises. I consider this to be an asset of mine – valuing the deeds that tell their own tale, and not the eloquence of empty phrases.
Another major asset of my parents was honesty. There has never been anything hidden under the veil of secrecy. This has turned into a policy of mine over the years. I am honest with my family members, co-workers, and people in general. However, modern way of life and the style of accomplishing things in today’s society does not always give priority to honest people. I consider it be a downfall of mine to expect honesty from all the people I meet on my way. I view it as a relative weakness drawn from my family experience. Nevertheless, I am proud of this quality, as it gives me a new perspective on people and their behavior. It helps me cherish this attribute in those I work with.
I consider communication in a family to be a role-model for the real life communication. I was raised with a perfectly clear understanding of how to hold a conversation, how to respect the interlocutor, keep my distance and share the sufficient amount of information depending on the type of conversation. I learned that because my family was the one that cherished the power of a good conversation and communication. It was a powerful tool that helped us handle arguments, as well as decide on important matters. This is one of the most salient strength I can draw from my family experience. It helped me throughout all stages of my life. It has become a powerful asset of mine that helps me reach consensus with those unwilling to reach it, solve a conflict with those who are too stubborn to acknowledge their mistakes, and come to an understanding with those who do not always like to make the first step in order to reach reconciliation.
When I work with clients I need to be aware that not all of them come from perfect families with perfect backgrounds and family history. The fact that I was blessed to be raised in a family like mine does not mean that everyone had a chance to have an excellent family experience. There are families of different financial status, with limited access to certain privileges, and I need to keep this in mind. A person that has not been an object of family love, did not always get enough attention, was raised in poor conditions with limited access to the necessary things, and had a troubled childhood, deserves my respect and understanding no matter what. If such person has grown into a good person with the right qualities, then the family history becomes less important for creation of a mental profile and formation of respect towards such person. This is the kind of approach I always use when I work with clients.
Another major thing that comes to mind is that people should never be judged as to what their families are. It is an extremely unfair thing to do when meeting a person. I always try to get to know a person and appreciate the qualities that they possess, regardless the financial situation and family background. People have a tendency to make assumptions and jump into quick conclusions about others just because their families are different. It is of vital importance to remember that “different” is not always “wrong”, and the fact that we did not have certain experience does not necessarily mean that such experience is not worthy of having.
When I am working with clients, I appreciate the positive qualities they possess. It becomes a salient precondition for a mutually beneficial work and cooperation. Over the years I have become fully aware of where these qualities come from. They were once enhanced and developed by the family of this person.