by MICHAEL SIMS, 06/29/2020, Traverse, MI

Adult Category

We all have family that we call our own, it needn’t even matter whether they’re of blood or not. Whether one was raised through biological blood, adapted, or sees another person/group as a surrogate family, doesn’t matter. The ideals of familial happiness are essential, especially in times of pain, anxiety, and hardship, and this is because happiness through family can create a healthy environment for whoever is in need of one. Now more than ever familial happiness is a necessity during the ongoing pandemic that’s sweeping across the globe. Shared family values of love vary from experience to experience, since everyone goes about life differently. Family love that builds us up, that holds one’s life together is intertwined with the set of beliefs bestowed upon a family member whose experiences in life may leave a lasting impression on us.

My father, Lawrence Sims, has three shared values in life: he cherishes his family; he wants to help people however he can; and he values staying healthy and active. To me, my father’s values help me push through hardship, and it’s because of these values that I’m still in pursuit of my dreams. Family happiness can guide one through the gaping holes of depression, can shelter one through any major event such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and be a model to look up to.With the Ongoing Covid-19 pandemic ravaging all parts of the world, great distress can overcome anyone.

My father told me one time when he went to work it’s not just for us but for his fellow human beings. I pondered the meaning of his words for days, not knowing what he meant because all I could do was worry for my own father. Depression and anxiety for anyone could be exacerbated due to the pandemic, as of now more than ever, people should bond more with one another. During my recent studies for English, I encountered an article published by Owl City News, Witney Lamb–Chair of the prevention coalition in Casper, Wyoming–stated that “social isolating itself is a risk factor for not only substance use, but depression, suicide, and domestic violence” (Lachance).

Self isolating can deter one’s mental health, making and keeping family bonds alive is especially crucial at this time; family happiness in any crisis can get one from the worst life has to offer. My father whose job is a pilot during this global crisis is undergoing a series of flights aimed at saving lives. He flies cargo to epicenters across the state of Michigan, cargo which contains valuables that have the potential to save lives. When asked why he was putting his life on the line, knowing the potential risk he has, he replied with honesty that what keeps him going is helping out as many people as possible. He also keeps his family in mind while he leaves for work, spending every hour with us when he returns. There has been reports of rising suicide rates across the nation, so much so that the suicide preventation even has a new catagory for those undergoing emotional distress during this outbreak (Suicide Prevention). As Chair Lamb puts it “Quarantining is a unique time for us to connect with family and build stronger relationships,” and with the rest of the world affected, this statement couldn’t be closer from reality” (Lechance 1).

When it comes to role models, my father has instilled values which helped define who I am. My three values in life are wanting to help others, my family and friends, and pursuing my dreams. Two of my values in life are the same as my father’s, which is why I have respect for him. I haven’t given up on my dreams, and it’s thanks to my father that I’m still fighting for those dreams. Family members can be the best role models, even though it is true that sometimes in life, family members are not always the best people. Sometimes the people who gave birth to us are twisted versions of what a family should be. There are many stories in which children were neglected, abused, and even tortured. A story written in The Guardian tells an account of a girl who was sold by her parents for money, where she said that she was “regularly trafficked in the sex industry”, she’s one of many voices robbed of her childhood by her own parents (Calvi). Although it’s true that some families are not the best people, it is true that real families are what made you, and sometimes in life the people who are of blood are not your real family, meaning your real family is really the ones who care for you. Former President Barack Obama not only raised his two daughters while also maintaining a political career, he has been known to remind parents nationwide to be there for your children, for Obama, “good parenting is a powerful tool for social transformation” (Kendall).

Family happiness overall has the power to stop the most distressing situations, prevent suicide in the family, and be blueprint to how to live life. My father who helped during the events of 9/11, Katrina, and the current Covid 19 pandemic has instilled a sense of passion within me. My depression during my worst moments was subdued thanks to my father’s guidance. In all honesty I’m not sure if I would still be breathing right now were it not for him. Shared values in the grander scheme of things could be traced back to anyone who has made the most impression on us. Family happiness is important no matter how you look at it, because we all need family–even if that family is not blood. Family happiness could have the potential of rewriting all our worst distresses away– so why don’t we share it?