Times are changing, the world is growing and opportunities are limitless. Families are being challenged in ways that we’ve never seen before because of our ever changing economic and social climates. Now…..more than ever before families, need to pull together and take pride in themselves, individually and as a whole, so that every member of their family can thrive. Pride is a feeling of pleasure from one’s own achievements, of those with whom you are associated and a feeling of justifiable self-respect. As a community, we need to get back to taking pride in our biological families as well as our extended family by embracing that fact that we are all different….but the same. We all have the desire to belong to something or someone, we all want to be loved and appreciated and most importantly, we all want to be proud of who we are and where we come from. Within our communities, we CANNOT be successful if we don’t recognize how important family is. Yes……you may make a lot of money or even a little bit of money but, at the end of the day, we need and want to belong to a family, however you choose to define yours. The statistics regarding divorce, single parent households and youth who are at-risk are painfully high, as a result, we need to take a look at ourselves and decide who we want be as individuals, families and a community and get to the business of being EXACTLY that!! We have to redefine ourselves, change those negative statistics and flourish as a family community!! How do we do that??? I’m so glad you asked, here are a few examples: A.) Be CONSISTENT! B.) Expose children to as many positive experiences as possible C.) Support the children and each other by showing up as much as possible because they love to see your smiling faces D.) Praise and encourage each other and the children when they do well to encourage positive behavior E.) When our loved ones are engaged in negative or inappropriate behavior, try to correct the behavior not CONDONE or make excuses for it. We need to show interest or concern in each other’s well being from the youngest to the oldest in our family and community. The older generations helped to make us who we are and the younger generation is our future. Our young people should reflect what we have taught and instilled in them. We all have busy lives and schedules but we should never be too busy to take time out and build stronger family ties. We ask you now, to take pride in your family, biological or extended by respecting yourselves as well as one another. Always talk out your differences with respect and continue to be an example to your children and those around you. It is important to act with integrity and teach our younger generation that their actions can and will bring consequences. In order for our children to grow and understand life they need to experience those consequences and our job is to help them and each other to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. United we stand and divided we fall, let’s work together to change that expression to “united we stand so that we will not fall”. When we see ours brothers and sisters down, let’s not kick them while they’re down but pick them back up instead. We need to restore our family ties and family values that have been tossed away like trash and take pride and cherish our families because at the end of each day…….. Family Is All That Matters!!