Providing for our loved ones is something that comes natural to most, but over time we can get so accustomed to the routine way of caring for someone that we wind up neglecting one another unintentionally. There are responsibilities we have to our family members that may not benefit us physically or financially but do have a greater impact on our emotional well being than any other relationships. Family is, for the largest part of our lives, the core of our identity. Our families shape us into who we are, so it’s crucial that we don’t forget to tend to these four familial responsibilities.
Explore Their Interests
Some of us might be asked what our siblings or parents like to do and draw a blank. Even if you know they enjoy watching baseball or gardening on the weekends, what are their everyday interests? What’s their favorite TV show at the moment? What’s the last book they read, and did they enjoy it? What’s their favorite restaurant? It can be very easy to know a person so well that you don’t really know them at all. Make an effort to converse with your loved ones and stay current on where they are in life. Don’t just settle for being their brother, sister, son, daughter or parent. Be their friend, and take the same level of interest in their hobbies and dreams that you would anyone else you’re close to.
Making Time for One Another
Seeing each other on the holidays or for weekend dinners can become more obligatory than anything else. These scheduled routines may be wonderful when they come around, but there are plenty of days left over throughout the year that we can use to arrange meetings with our family members. If we don’t live near one another, we can use Skype or FaceTime to video chat and interact face-to-face. A 30-minute call just to say hello and ask how someone is doing can be ten times more powerful and touching than an entire trip back home that you’ve always taken anyway.
Planning for the Inevitable
No one wants to think about their parents dying, but it’s an unavoidable fact of life that can sometimes become even harder to deal with the closer it approaches. Instead of allowing yourself to be side swept with the responsibilities that accompany a loved one’s death, have an open conversation beforehand and get everything squared away. Probate professionals, like those at J Peterman Legal Group, know that many different situations can arise when a loved one passes on. It won’t be the happiest conversation you’ll have, but knowing exactly what is to happen after someone’s death will allow you to be wholly emotionally and mentally available as they age and need to be taken care of.
We can bicker with our family members so much that we’ll often let tension fizzle out instead of actually resolving any conflict. It may not seem like a big deal after the heat of the moment has passed, but taking the time to understand someone’s view, apologizing for any unkind words or even simply agreeing to disagree can make a big difference in familial relationships as the action leads to a greater sense of mutual respect.
Above All Else, Love One Another
We won’t always love everything about our family. They may do things that we outright disapprove of or have done things in the past that we once declared unforgivable. Although we can never give ourselves our dream parents or picture-perfect siblings, we can learn to accept our family as real human beings, each with their own thoughts, dreams and fears.
Once we start to truly humanize our loved ones, they become so much more than “Grandma” or “Dad” and instead become figures we can openly and honestly connect with, even if the way we have to do so isn’t always the easiest. What matters at the end of the day is that we try because the act alone proves that we care.