Springtime. The word itself brings to mind images of all kinds of new beginnings... tiny determined seedlings bursting through the soil, reaching for the the sun... brave baby robins pecking through the safety of their tiny blue shell, ready to come out into the world... sweet-smelling blosssoms adorning tree limbs, opening up and offering their seeds to begin the cycle all over again. Life is made up of a continuous stream of new beginnings. Some are exciting, some are frightening, and many are a little of both. A new baby, a new partner, graduating and going off to college, starting a new job... these are new beginnings that we embrace full of hope, joy, and high expectations. There are also new beginnings full of pain or fear, when we are forced to move on to a new life that we don't necessarily chooose: The loss of a loved one, a marriage breaking up, kids going off to college, an illness, or an injury. This year brings the unprecedented experience of a global pandemic to our lives, leaving a trail of loss, fear, and anxiety in its wake for many. It takes courage and strength to survive and thrive during these periods of major life changes and challenges.
So how can we prepare ourselves and those we love for all that life throws at us? Where does strength and courage come from, and where does it find support? Much of it comes from the powerful bonds that develop in strong family connections, from the role we each play in something larger than ourselves, from a sense of belonging and feeling valued.
A family is like a living organism, much like a tree. The roots are the first and most important things to develop. They must grow strong and secure themselves firmly into the soil before the seedling can even begin to poke through the surface. Building a strong sense of belonging in your family is like sending roots down into the soil. Once the foundation is built, the trunk can thicken, branches can sprout and flowers can blossom. Birds and other animals will come and enjoy the refuge and nourishment the tree has to offer. Your loved ones can now spread their wings and venture confidently into life, always knowing they can come back home to mend a broken heart or an injured wing.
It's our job to give our children roots and wings. It's our responsibility to nurture our loved ones and give them a strong sense of belonging. From that stems the confidence and desire to venture out from the comfort of the tree and experience life; to dream, to explore, to fully live. A strong foundation makes it easier to see when it is time to regroup and recharge themselves if they are stuck in an unhealthy or unhappy situation, and gives them the strength and courage to move on when pain and fear are holding them back.
Creating a sense of belonging is key to creating strong family ties. It is the foundation for everything else. There are simple things you can do to build or strengthen a sense of belonging in your own family. Pop on over to the Celebrations page for simple traditions and activities to celebrate new beginnings, even more important in this time of quarantine.
I have shared a few for Easter, new babies, and graduations, as well as Mother's Day and Father's Day, to honor those in our lives who were formative in our own beginnings.
And please share your own traditions in the comments! I would love to hear how you are celebrating spring.
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