An image of an extended family
Source: Impact Photography

So, today is already the second day in the month of January; the year is running fast, isn’t it? Good morning my awesome readers (‘awesome’ just happen to be one of the words I’m binge using). Yesterday was grandma’s thanksgiving and it was cool but my crush wasn’t in church. (chuckles). You know that feeling you get when you’ve worn what you may feel is your best and it turns out he or she isn’t going to see and admire you in the splendor of your beauty.

As much as the extended family is praised for all its strong ties and bonds; its still a fragile or should I rather say volatile environment. I believe as far as humans, it is actually difficult for us to just remain peaceful without any hate, resentment or animosity. One that saddles the extended family is competition. Almost every member of an extended family feels they are in a competition with one another. It seems like for every extended family, they shouldn’t be living together.

Yesterday, immediately after my grandma’s thanksgiving service at the church; I teamed up with my kid sister and my cousin that should be of same age with her and we went on a visiting spree. Visiting various families that might have seen us once in about five years and some also that might have been seeing us for some time was quite fun and hectic. At some homes, they really felt at ease while at some others they were in a hurry to go. There was a particular family that was exceptionally hospitable; before we could even refuse their food, they had dished and served it. Then there were some other families that were engrossed in knowing the age, class or latest qualification of even those that were not on the visit with us. Some by their faces practically wished we hadn’t visited. It was such a dynamic experience.

When I look at the division in my country, I think it stems up from the family. The extended families can never be together. When I look at two warring families, it actually bothers me to think that at some stage these were siblings that probably ate porridge from the same plate. If you look at the picture above, you’d find the family looking very happy. The real question is that are they actually that happy?

I was lucky to come from an inter-ethnic marriage that exposed me to two different tribes in Nigeria. As the first grandchild, the both families did actually try to make me download an image of the family tree. I remember once I was so interested in a particular lady before I was told her dad is related to my mom, the family tree can be so huge. Sometimes, it scares me to think that I and my cousins or even my sister won’t be in talking terms.

Now, there was something I noticed in our visit yesterday. The homes we enjoyed most were the ones we had memories with. What does that tell you? These memories could have just been made in a day or even in few hours, but it was really huge yesterday. Many times as parents, let your kids interact physically with their cousins and relatives. It helps to build family bonds and many times when you do have issues with your brother or any of your relative. Never let your children be aware of it; else you might be causing a generational war.

Extended families can actually be happy; but it would take a whole lot of commitment and sacrifice. If there are methods that worked for your extended family, do well to share in the comment section. I am sure I won’t be the only one needing your counsel.

Bon Jour mes ami(e)s

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