This past weekend we spent a day with my parents and sister. I’m very lucky in that my family members are in good health, and my parents, though slowing down, are active enough to travel regularly, enjoy life to the fullest, and enjoy their grandchildren.
In fact, it’s amazing what children can do for all aspects of a family. I’ve watched my dad go from a fairly serious and composed man to being a real mush around my girls. And I’ve seen my mother become more comfortable with others doing the parenting; while she still worries, she is less apt to do so knowing that my wife and I are the end decision-makers. In addition, and rightly so, they enjoy seeing their grandkids just as much (if not more) than us. My sister too has grown in her maturity and is now someone, along with her husband, who my wife and I feel could very easily take care of our kids, and someday, when they are ready, their own.
I share all this because our families make us. And in turn, we make our families.
What I mean by this is that unlike our friends, we can’t truly pick who our family members will be. But, we can learn to love them, and hopefully influence them to be better.
And in turn, our hope is that they influence us to become ever better as well.
Our work families are much the same. We can’t always choose who we work with. But we can choose to meet them where they are, and take the steps necessary to help them improve. This doesn’t mean we ignore behaviors that are detrimental to others. Far from it. But it does mean that we remember that our family members are people too, and just like us, they have daily struggles and successes that influence their moods and abilities.
Therefore, it falls on us to treat everyone as family. We must provide support, push (but not too hard), and remember that relationships only grow when both sides are ready. So, let’s be the side that prompts growth, and therefore know that when others are ready, they will prompt back.