Student to Student
Families are important because, whether traditional or improvised, families provide support and guidance. They believe in you and disapprove of you and shape who you are.
Families are composed of the people who will say what others, who don’t know you as well, won’t dare or bother to say. For example, my sister straight out told me that this whole column topic idea was lame. But I’m writing it anyway.
An old saying goes, "Blood is thicker than water." It actually doesn’t make any sense, but what it’s supposed to mean is that your family ties are much stronger than any other relationships. Of course, family doesn’t need to be defined by blood; there are many people who turn away from unhappy biological family situations and create a family of close friends.
"Your family is always your family no matter what," says my mom, Stephanie Fischer. You may drift away from your other acquaintances and never see them again, but when you drift away from your family you’re still a family with those family ties that create a sense of commitment between family members. "They still love you when you mess up," she explains.
Even when family members are stupid and mean and annoying, you don’t give up on them. You still want to find a way to help them in any way possible. Though this topic is stupid to her, my sister agrees that, "You can trust [family] to love you most of the time."
This strong trust and compassion comes from knowing your family. Being around your family a lot means that you pretty much have to be yourself when you’re with them because they know when you’re being fake. In this way, you get to know each other well.
Conversely, in a wider social setting, or with strangers, many people tend to act differently in attempts to make a certain impression. But family provides an opportunity to relax and be your real self in your interactions.
This relaxed and open type of relationship can lead to scolding for misconduct. "When you’re getting out of line, you have to have somebody who loves you enough to tell you you’re getting out of line," my dad says to back up this idea. It’s because there’s so much trust and compassion between family members that they can yell at you.
Getting yelled at and told that you’re out of line is no fun, but the guidance needs to come from both sides so that in a relationship one person does not end up being abused. For instance, it’s terrible when parents are really harsh and disrespectful with their kids, and it’s also really sad when an annoyed kid snaps to her helpful mother, "Shut up, Mom."
When kids get angry and annoyed at their parents, they can think about this quote by Bill Gates (and he’s Bill Gates, right, so you know he must be kind of smart). He said, "Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you think you are."
Though they can be painful, conflicts between teenagers and parents are a natural part of growing up and becoming independent by breaking away from the shelter their parents provide. And even as children grow up and learn to live independently, they can still depend on their family and their family can depend on them.
For example, when my grandma got sick a few years ago, she knew she could depend on her grown-up children to take care of her. It goes both ways everyone in a family can help out everyone else at some time, in some way. The most important thing about a family is that they are there for each other.
A wise alien experiment from the animated Disney film, "Lilo and Stitch," once said, "Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten."
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