Celebrating The Strengths of All Families
June is Pride Month, a time when we collectively celebrate the love and strength of diverse families. At FamilyWise we know that strong, healthy families look lots of different ways. This month we asked staff and board members what they most appreciate about their unique families. We also asked friends in our First Step Early Childhood Center to share drawings of their special families.
“My grandmother played a very active role in raising us; we spent many overnights at our house. She taught me to cook, to bake, to knit. She had a beautiful garden and would have us water her flowers. She provided a sense of safety and home when other things in my life were uncertain and unanchored. I will always appreciate her steadfastness, her willingness to devote time to us, her commitment to celebrating our successes, and the sheer force of her personality.”
“What I appreciate the most is having a supportive and committed partner that helps me shine and be my best self.”
“I have gotten the pleasure of growing up with most of my extended family around – even my 2nd cousins and 1st cousins once removed have always been a part of my life. Family reunions are such a blast, and it feels good to know I have people all around the country who I can call my family (AND my friends!).”
“In some ways my family is like most families – we treat one another with love (sometimes!), we cry together when one of us is hurt, sometime we eat together, sometimes we don’t. What stands out is that I have a very large, diverse, eccentric, flamboyant, witty and very sociable family. We are very close. That’s just one thing I love about my family. I also love the diverse cultures my family represents. My dad was born in the South but he and his 12 siblings were raised in the Midwest. My mom was born in the South and spent several years in California where she experienced the joy of being socially connected to diverse ethnic groups. Later, she moved to the Midwest where she met and married my dad.
I married a Liberian man and was adopted into Liberian culture as if I was a born Liberian. This has broadened my knowledge about African cultures and ethnic groups. I have 6 siblings (1 of which no one knew existed for decades), 2 half siblings, and a first cousin raised as my brother. Another part of our family was my older sister’s best friend, who was an unapologetic out gay man, and who we called Teeta, as in Auntie. During those times so many people were unaccepting and mean to him; he was constantly bullied and his own family verbally abused him. He was a part of our family and we treated him with respect and acceptance. I’m proud of my family for being so open and loving to all people across differences, and I’m proud to pass on those values to my son, 5 grandchildren, and 14 nieces and nephews.”
“Relationships that I feel so lucky to have in my life are with an “extended family” of mentors. Knowing that other people have chosen to invest in me, who hear and see me and believe in me, and who are willing to help guide me from the wisdom of their experiences, has given me strength and meant the world to me.”
These quotes and images highlight the value of supportive relationships in helping individuals and families grow and thrive. At FamilyWise, we help parents and families identify and strengthen their relationships, deepening their bench of support people that they can call on for babysitting, for career guidance, for a good laugh, etc. Learn more by reading our blog post about natural supports and by viewing our natural supports video. Interested in being a mentor for a young parent? Learn more and sign up here.