We all have some type of hierarchy to our lives whether we notice it or not. There are inherent levels of importance that we place on the groups of people and individuals in our lives.
Ideally, we would put our family first, right? I mean we came into this world knowing no one but them! We've grown up with them. We've been around them for years, maybe even decades depending on how old we are. Long story short, they've been there. They've seen us at our best, they've seen us at our worst. They were there when we won our first doubles tennis match, and our first varsity wrestling match! So, to me, family is first.
But, we may also have that one faithful, fun and loyal friend. This is a friend that is so close that they feel like family. So, where does this person fall in our hierarchy?
And what about those cool people that we met at church who tell us that we are all family -- collectively, children of God? Where do they fall?
All of this inquisition is basically a call for introspection. Sometimes we forget that family is family. We put people who were complete strangers before people that we've known our whole lives! We make plans with a family member and then completely cancel to, instead, be there for someone who was a stranger just a month ago!
Yes, we are supposed to treat others with respect and be kind, but, I do not think that translates to us putting them before people who put us first for years.
Now, I too am a person who has become friends with someone, gotten accustomed to being around them constantly, talking to them daily, and, in being wrapped up in my exciting and new friendship, forgotten to call my parents daily like I had before, or canceled on a cousin or sibling because it had become easier to just meet up with this friend instead. But, because I've been on the receiving end of this before, I've become hyper-aware of the effect that this has on you when your family member completely forgets about you or flakes on you.
I say all of this to say that, I don't have the answers for those family members who don't deserve to be placed first in our lives, but I do know that, just becoming more aware of the simple fact that there are levels to our relationships with people will serve to keep us on our toes when dealing with those closest to us. This will help to keep us in check when deciding to visit that cousin who we haven't seen in months instead of spending the day lounging with a friend. It will also show your family members that they are loved and valued.
You never know what could go wrong and when. Don't continue to put off your family thinking that they'll always be there. Pay more attention to the hierarchy of people within your life, and even take some time to re-evaluate it. This will help us further on our missions to treat others the ways that we want to be treated, and it will improve your overall relationship with your family members. Because, to me, family is E V E R Y T H I N G.