I love getting together with my family and talking about my ancestors and hearing stories about them. Some are funny, some heroic, some you wouldn’t want others knowing about! But sometimes when I’m with my brothers in Texas they will be telling a story about a great uncle or some other relative that I don’t really know. Part of this is because when I was younger I didn’t see the importance of getting to know my great aunts and uncles. I was too busy playing. Another part of this is the fact that I moved away many years ago and they stayed and have kept in touch with many family members that I have not. So when they tell a really funny story about a family member I don’t know that well, I feel like I’ve missed something.
Being away from family causes you to miss important things. My older brother, even when we were young, would sit and listen to my grandfather and his brothers talk about their lives. My younger brother spent a lot of time with my grandparents and an uncle. They learned a lot of our family history that I don’t know. They share a bond I don’t have. They gained wisdom I don’t have. And I feel left out.
Great strength, wisdom, joy and love can come from spending time with your family. Older members can share stories of struggle, victory and lessons from life you cannot gain anywhere else. Younger members can become lifelong companions who share your own struggles and victories. You can even share your own experiences with younger family members who will pass these stories and wisdom on to future generations.
Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize the church as a family. They are like I was as a child, too preoccupied with ‘playing,’ they miss out on the wisdom, joy and bonds that can come out of spending time with the family. So when they hear stories or wisdom passed on by the ‘family’ they feel left out.
But it’s not too late. This family has ‘family reunions’ three or more times a week! Rather than rushing out the door to whatever activities you are rushing to, stay awhile. Visit, go to eat with ‘family members.’ Ask questions. Tell stories. Share your lives and your wisdom. You won’t regret it.