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What does family mean?

["Walt's World with Walter Jones"]
Walter Jones

Walt's World with Walt Jones

My very first full-time trained job was in psychiatry.

I was chatting with a psychiatrist one day and he made this statement and I believe it to be true. The only people who can make you crazy are the ones you love. They are the only people who can wound you that deep.

There is another saying that I am not so sure is true and that is that blood is thicker than water, meaning of course that you will cherish, respect and come to the defence of or rally in support of blood relatives more than others.

It has been my experience that brothers, sisters, son and daughters will say things to each other that they would never say to strangers. We are judgmental with our relatives and feel we have a right to sit in judgement on what they should be and how they should behave.

I believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion and a right to express it. There is another saying that we can pick our friends, but we do not chose our family.

Blood should be thicker than water, it should be a bond that binds.

In our society where bonds are stretched to the limits, we should be able to count on family. If we are in crisis, we should be able to count on our family to support us. You don't have to agree with their lifestyle, their sexual orientation, their religious beliefs, who they are living with, or numerous other things that you do not hold in common.

If they are suffering, if they are sick, if they are dying, we should be able to give them support of a family, or what use is it to have a family.

We have lost a lot in our new society, we no longer feel an obligation to family. My mother looked after her father and made him part of our family.

She took in her brother who was an alcoholic who was dying and alone rejected by his children. My sister moved in with our mother and looked after her in her later years - an uncle dying of cancer died in her arms because he had no one who cared.

He left all his property to a niece who only showed up to collect her inheritance. We were all aware of who would inherit. This is how families should be.

I hope if you read this column you might take a moment and think about family and your social obligations to them.


Walter Jones column appears weekly in the Amherst News


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