8 Things That Make A Family

We believe deeply that love makes a family. There are other core values that make a family as well.

Jennifer Mellon September 07, 2017

Every Fall, my daughters’ school does a beautiful photo gallery featuring every family. It is titled “Love Makes A Family” and displays the diversity in the composition of our school. There are adoptive families, single-parent families, families with two moms or two dad and families with grandparents raising the children.

This gallery means so much to our family, because we too do not look like everyone else. I am re-married and have a beautiful son with my husband. I am still best friends with my ex-husband who vacations with us and spends Sundays together with us as well as every holiday.  We had two little girls together who joined my husband’s two children when we married to form our family of 5 kids. We believe deeply that love makes a family. There are other core values that make a family as well.

There are adoptive families, single-parent families, families with two moms or two dad and families with grandparents raising the children.
1. There are adoptive families, single-parent families, families with two moms or two dad and families with grandparents raising the children.

Giving grace means giving someone something they may not deserve. This is truly the epitome of what it means to be a family. Our love, attention, help, support, forgiveness, and acceptance is given to all whether it is deserved or not. It is one of the best things about being in a family. It is also the basis where we learn to give grace to others outside of our family.

Forgiveness Makes A Family
2. Forgiveness Makes A Family

Forgiveness can go hand in hand with grace sometimes. Often forgiveness may be difficult to give; it may even be undeserved. Sometimes forgiveness is given even when it is not preceded with an apology. Being a family means constantly forgiving. It means forgiving and forgetting - for the big things and little things.

Loyalty Makes A Family
3. Loyalty Makes A Family

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines loyalty as “unswerving in allegiance." Family means standing by each other and being faithful to all members of the family no matter what happens in life. It is one of the most beautiful, secure feelings to know that your family will be there for you through all of life’s ups and downs.

Respect Makes a Family
4. Respect Makes a Family

Respect makes a family happy, whole, and thriving. We may not always agree with the choices our family members make on a day-to-day basis or in life, however, family respects and cherishes those differences. Our differences are what make us special. Family is a lab for learning how to deal with those who are different from us; those who hold different views, think differently, act differently or see the world through a lens we may not. Respect means we do not just tolerate those differences, but cherish, value, and learn from one another.

Support Makes A Family
5. Support Makes A Family

Family means supporting the members throughout their lives. It may be as little as making time to go to all of their performances, games, or special days at school. It may be as big as being by their side caring for them at the end of their lives. Family means knowing the members of it will always be there for you supporting your choices, life paths, as well as the things and people you value. Support means getting to know and loving your family members spouses, friends, career, and interests.

Trust Makes A Family
6. Trust Makes A Family

Trust is one of the most important values in our family. It is what allows us to take risks, dream big, and show up every day being vulnerable, honest, and able to share our hopes and fears. Family above all else never breaks that trust. If trust is broken, family is also the safe place to admit your fault and be forgiven and given grace. Trust allows us to grow and thrive and find healthy, safe relationships outside of our families.

Vulnerability Makes A Family
7. Vulnerability Makes A Family

True vulnerability is intimacy. True intimacy can not be had without vulnerability. Your family is the one place in the world you can just be you. You can be vulnerable enough to let them know your thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes, and problems. Family is vulnerable enough to admit fault, seek forgiveness, and know you will be loved with open arms. Being raw and open is so hard for so many people. Many times this is due to them lacking a family that was vulnerable and real with one other. Being vulnerable allows you to be whole as a person and family.

Unconditional Love
9. Unconditional Love

Family means unconditional love. My family knows there is nothing they can do, say, or believe - no way they will behave, or a choice they will make - that will cut them off from the others' love and acceptance. Unconditional love means we embrace family member’s choices, marriages, careers, decisions, friends, choices - whether they are the same ones we would make or not. Unconditional love is one of the strongest bonds in a family. It is what keeps us together through the good times and bad knowing that no matter what happens in life, we will always have each other.

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Jennifer Mellon

Jennifer Mellon has worked in the child welfare field for more than a decade, serving in varying capacities as the Executive Director and Chief Development Officer of Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) and the Corporate Communications Program Manager for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Jennifer has served on the Board of the Campagna Center, which provides critical educational services to children and families in the DC Metro Area and on the Development Committee for the National Council for Adoption. She is the mom of three children and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

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