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What Does ‘Being a Family’ Mean to You?

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Successful leaders must manage up (superiors), down (subordinates) and sideways (peers). Each group requires something different from you. Understanding family relationships helps you improve your relationships at work. Mark Albion’s blog series explores the impact our relationship with our father has on how we build our business and life. Each post has a serial and commentary portion. It is hoped that readers will add their own commentary and discuss in the comments.


The author of this post, Mark Albion, a conflicted achiever who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong, is the New York Times Best Selling author of seven books. He has ridden a horse across Afghanistan and been hugged by Mother Teresa and Ronald Reagan—not at the same time.

In him to whom love dwells, the whole world is
but one family. – Buddha
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Commentary on Part Five – What Does ‘Being a Family’ Mean to You?

“We are family here at XYZ Corporation. We treat each other like family. We treat our customers like family, too.”

We hear words like these frequently in the world of business. Tom Peters and Bob Waterman ushered in the “love they customer” movement in the 1980s with their mega-hit book, In Search of Excellence. Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher taught us all to “love thy employee” in the 1990s. The 2000s saw a rise in the importance of creating a family culture with workplace ‘family’ benefits for employees, followed closely by integrating customers’ ideas into as many processes as possible, such as product design.

So what does “being a family” mean in 2014? What lessons can we learn from home that impact how we act at work?

Several years ago tween Kristen Sibilia led a session for children of Social Venture Network members at our East Coast conference. She posed to the group a question she and older sister Kendra received from youngest sister, Kayla. Kayla asked, Why should I worry about you two and Mommy and Daddy? I just care about myself right now. That’s enough for me.”

I never forgot Kristen’s response: “You should care about your sisters and parents because when you care about your family, you have four people who care about you. You have four people worrying about you, finding ways to help you. Why have only one person [you] helping you through life when you can have four?”

We are inevitably our brother’s keeper as we are our brother’s brother. What affects one directly affects us all indirectly.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kristen’s sentiment is expressed in two other stories I’d like to share. Each has a different perspective on family and what it means to “take care of others.” When I say that to reach your dreams you need to help others reach their dreams, what exactly does it mean to ‘help’?

The first story is told by Talmudic Rabbis. It attempts to explain why the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was built where it once stood:

Once there were two brothers who loved one another very much. The younger brother had a wife and four children. The older brother never married and lived alone. The brothers were poor farmers who worked hard and eked out a living on the field that their father had bequeathed equally to them. Each year at harvest time they divided the produce. Each took his share and stacked it outside his house.

To reach your dreams you need to help others reach their dreams: what exactly does it mean to help?  Tweet This Quote

One night, the older brother awoke and was troubled. He thought, “How unfair of me to take half of the harvest. My brother has a wife and children to feed. I should give my brother a larger share of the harvest.” So, in the middle of the night, the older brother secretly carried part of his share of the harvest to his brother’s house. He placed it on top of what his brother had already stacked there.

The younger brother also awoke from his sleep troubled. He thought, “All these years, I have been equally dividing the harvest work with my brother. But I have been unfair. I have a wife and children to give me comfort, but he is alone. When I am old, my children will help take care of me. But he will be alone, with no one to support him.”

So, in the middle of the night, the younger brother secretly carried part of his share of the harvest and deposited it outside of his brother’s house with his brother’s share of the harvest.

Neither of the brothers knew what the other was doing, so each was amazed that despite his efforts to give part of his own share of the harvest to the other, his own share never seemed to be depleted. Each man continued to bring part of his share of the harvest to his brother during the night, constantly increasing the amount, and always being surprised that his own share never seemed to be diminished.

Finally, one night, the two brothers met. Each quickly understood what the other was doing. They embraced, kissed, and wept in love and joy. When God saw this, he decided to have the Holy Temple built on the exact spot where the brothers met that night.

The love we give away is the only love we keep.
– Elbert Hubbard
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Following a story akin to the famed O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi, I first encountered the second story (edited) in the 1690 book, The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln. I believe it is the only Jewish book from the Middle Ages written by a woman. It offers another perspective on relationships within a family and at work:

A father bird set out to cross a windy sea with his three fledglings. The sea was so wide and the wind so strong, the father bird was forced to carry his young, one by one, in his strong claws. When he was halfway across with the first fledgling the wind turned to a gale. He said, “My child, look how I am struggling and risking my life on your behalf. When you are grown up, will you do as much for me and provide for my old age?”

Relationships we have with others begin with the relationship we have with ourselves.  Tweet This Quote

The fledgling replied, “Bring me to safety, and when you are old I shall do everything you ask of me.” In response, the father bird dropped his child into the sea where it drowned. “So shall it be done to such a liar as you,” he proclaimed.

Then the father bird returned to shore, set forth with his second fledgling. When asked the same question, receiving the same answer, he drowned the second child with the cry, “You, too, are a liar!”

Finally he set out with the third fledgling. When asked the same question, the last fledgling replied, “My dear father, it is true you are struggling mightily and risking your life on my behalf, and I shall be wrong not to repay you when you are old. But I cannot bind myself. This though I can promise: when I am grown up and have children of my own, I shall do as much for them as you have done for me.” The father bird carried him to safety.

When I think of my family, having watched my much younger siblings and many of the cousins since birth, I feel that the relationships we have with others begin with the relationship we have with ourselves. Given what you know about yourself, I ask:

What are you doing for other members of your family?
What are you doing for your colleagues at work?

We are all angels with one wing,
able to fly only when we embrace each other.
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Mark Albion

About the author

Mark is a conflicted achiever who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong. After nearly 20 years at Harvard (slow student), he left his b-school professorship to answer his...

Mark Albion has written 12 articles for UNREASONABLE.is

  • Brittney Glende

    Thank you Mark for posting this article, I loved the quote where you stated “To reach your dreams you need to help others reach their dreams: what exactly does it mean to help? Well for me I work with Autistic Children and I provide in home therapy to them and help them achieve their goals everyday. My dream is to give back and to help others and for me that is working with these children and helping them. You talked a little bit about the relationships we have with others starts within ourselves. I agree with this 100% it all starts with you as a person and how you feel about yourself. This will allow you to spread your wings and start creating relationships after you have found yourself as a person. :) Great Article Mark!!

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you, Brittney. Blessings on your work. Has your family support help you find meaningful work? I would think it certainly has made you feel good about yourself. Finding yourself as a person is a lifetime process, so staying connecting with that journey in what you do over time can be tricky, at times, but always fulfilling. May you stay the course :)

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    When you think ‘family’, what does that word, that concept, mean to you? Whom do you include in your family and what role(s) do you play? What could you do better?

  • Brandon

    Thanks for the article!!! i love the quote “to reach your dreams you need to help other reach theirs” so true because you need to supportive of each as a family when you are in a work place. It helps improve the relationships with your co-workers by making them better that is what a family does. Role a family does is pick you up when you may be down at times.

  • Marian326

    Thank you for this article. Family to me includes many people that are not related to me by blood. My church family, and my friends that are more like family than my own family. Family to me includes people that support and care for you through the good, the bad, and the ugly times of your life. Unfortunately, I am able to rely on my friends and church family more than I can my “real” family.
    Because of the strain within my family, I purpose to do as much for my children and my parents as I can. I have recently forged a much better relationship with my father, take care of my mother, and I am the communicator with my siblings. Sometimes being the go to person can be a burden, but I know that this is my strong suit.
    Yesterday I found out that one of my brothers had a heart attack, had surgery, and was not doing well. My selfish side could only think about telling my mother if he died. Praise God, he is stable, and it looks like he will make a full recovery. But, I have been mulling over what needs to happen in our family from this moment forward, and do I need to be the one to facilitate the mending of fences?
    Family is complicated, as are most relationships!

  • Daniel John

    I am a triplet and I have always been very close with my entire family. We follow some of the same examples you have discussed in the article from loving others more than ourselves to accomplishing our goals together (dreams). I agree with you when you say that relationships start with ourselves but in my family we put each other’s before ourselves. When I think of family I think of us as one, almost as if we were all the same person. I treat all my family members with unconditional love and respect. Without my family I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. I often consider my close close part of my family and treat them accordingly, is there a specific category for friends or can they be considered family?

  • Daniel John

    Marian326, I agree that sometimes being the go to person can be a burden. I come from a big family and I am considered the “responsible child”. I am sorry to hear about the tragic events that have happened. I am not great with advice but it seems like communication helps. Having someone to talk to May have to looking at things differently. Stay strong and keep praying, I hope all gets better for you.

  • lex_alwaysMIA

    Family is one of the most important factors in my life. I have relatives I rarely see, I have ones who are never around, even ones that call only on the holidays but nonetheless they are apart of my family. I have family that I do not share the same bloodline with but I consider them family. What you call family and I call family may be different but one thing remains the same, we love them. Family is like marriage, through sickness and health, the good times and bad, through richer and poorer for as long as we all shall live. I see nothing wrong with that and that is why I am in it for the long run. Thank you to my amazing family for being the crazy, loving, individuals you are! Great article!!

  • Palecekb

    Mark, this was touching. It is a new outlook that I feel many of us forget about or loose sight of. I know I have in the past. When I needed help no one would follow through with what they had said they would do. I am a person of my words so it was upsetting to see people fall through in times of need. I began to stop asking for help and doing everything on my own, not needing anyones help, or asking for it. After a stress full summer I believe it was, I was going back to school and was stressing about moving in and my father and step mother questioned why I was so worried and suggested I relaxed, I snapped. I exploded with anger in the fact that they were never willing to help me with things I could not accomplish myself. They began to help after that but still until this day, I feel I do not ask for help and try to be independent and do everything myself, because so many people have fallen through on their promises. It is hard for me to try to see in the view of the examples you gave.

  • Kyle Schiedemeyer

    I agree, great article! Family over everything, I know it sounds cliche but its the truth. Blood is thicker than water!

  • Kyle Schiedemeyer

    Im not a triplet but I have 2 other siblings, both younger, and know the struggle. Sometimes it is hard to relate to them and find things to bond over. I know one day we will all be great friends. Great article.

  • Logan Dohmeier

    To me family means everything. They will be the ones there when nobody else is left remaining to support you.. There may be cases where this is not true and it is unfortunate, but there is always someone in your life that you can call family who will always have your back. Those who are fortunate enough to have all of their family members healthy and alive should make sure they cherish the time they do have with them. This is a great article that really makes everyone step back and try to understand exactly what family is to them and it always makes it easy when you lead with a great example. Thanks Mark.

  • clemonsel02

    The people that mean the most in my life is my family. They are the ones that will be there no matter what life throws at you. This is not true for everyone but I truly believe that it is for me. I feel that family is something you need to cherish and you need to be greatful for what you have while they are still here. This article made me realize all the things I should have said before it was to late. Do you think more people need to see this?

  • Janna Bartels

    Thank you for your post! Family is very important and I include my dad, mom, sisters, their husbands, my husband, and his family. My roles have continued to change and develop from the youngest daughter/sister, to friend, to girlfriend and wife. Life constantly brings change and thus our family and roles in relationships will continually change as well. In today’s society, “family” is changing; with divorce, marriage separation, and lack of marriage as the culprits. People today do not value family as much as we once did.

  • Tuan Tran (Toby)

    Thank you for the post! Family is considered the most important thing that I treasure in my life. I’m from Asia country and that really makes it more meaningful for people like us. The people that mean that most to me are my mom, dad, sister, and my partner. They are people that I could never imagine how I can live without them, their supports and love. i sometimes still think that daily communication with my family members seems to not really the best I tend to think that family is already close so I do not have to be formal. But then when I think back, I realize that why do we even treat or behave with people who are not our family members even better then them. This is very true when it comes to giving and receiving love especially in a family. Thanks mark once again. I really love your post about family and the previous one about love . I really love your post and looking forward to read more about your posts!

  • Siden

    Thank you for the article. It is exactly true that family is
    very important. I always try hard to accomplish things to make my family happy.
    When my family is happy, I am happy too. Only family who is always there for
    you no matter you fail or success in your life. It is not good that some people
    do not care about family because they focus too much on earning money. To me,
    family is the priority to care about.

  • gallok

    This is such a great article! I have been leaving for six years in a different country where my family lives. I used to think that family were only people affiliated by consanguinity; now I know that is much more than that. Family is the people which you care and they care about you. Especially when you live away from your ‘family’, you create new connections with friends,co-workers, and classmates.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    So is your point that living away from your family is good in the sense that you still have your family relationships and the distance makes it easier to explore other fulfilling relationships, too?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Siden, what do you do when what makes your family happy is not something you would do otherwise, or when what makes you happy, doesn’t make your family happy? My reading of your comment is you would decide to do whatever makes your family happy first. If so, is that a lifetime commitment? What happens when you have your own family? Do they take priority over your parents and family?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you, Toby. If daily communication is not best, what is the best amount, you feel, to communicate. And I’m not sure I understood: do you feel there’s a tendency to treat non-family members at times nicer than your own family members, which you feel is something we have to guard against?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Why, Janna, don’t we value family as much as we once did? Should we? And if we should, what can one do to change their priorities?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    I do think more people need to see this, so please send these blogs around! That is why I’m writing this book. Over the past 30 years of working with thousands of people, many MBAs, writing 7 books and over 200 articles, I’ve found that the family influences on work success and life happiness are profound. I’m trying to give us a space to begin exploring these relationships, particular our ‘father’ relationship, so that we can improve the relationships, empathize with others, and better ourselves and work. What do you think?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you, Logan. I often see young people not spending much time with grandparents, not asking them about what life was like when they were young, about their experiences. I was just with a friend’s mother, whom I’ve known off and on for over 30 years. I just found out today she is a holocaust survivor. We talked, she shared. What a rich insight into humanity I never would have received if I hadn’t spent time with this 90 year old. So I agree, don’t wait until they’re gone to appreciate what you have.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Just as we try to train ourselves to give, we have to learn to receive — allowing others to feel needed, allowing them to have the gift, the happiness, that comes from giving. This has been an issue within much of my family. I know one of the issues between my Dad and me was that he didn’t feel I needed him. I take great pride in being independent — even my wife of 35 years feels it is very hard to ‘nurture’ me, that my demeanor does not make me approachable. So a lot of time we are not getting help because our ‘vibe’ is that we are in control and can do it ourselves. Some of the most successful leaders lead with ‘doubt’–recognizing that if they ‘know everything’, there is no room, no place, for anyone else. By not knowing, it allows others a chance to give and contribute. Are these comments in some way relevant to you?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    A Jewish friend used to tell me that family are the people that hide you during the Holocaust. They are there whether you win or lose, Lex, whether you are a success or today wasn’t your day. They listen to the same story you’ve told five times, they give you their time. But to me, just because someone through blood is ‘family’, and I never forget that, it does not mean I have the same affection for some of them as I do my close friends, two of whom have been friends for 50 years!

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    As I said in the post, the way I would define family, similar to as you do, they can absolutely be friends. I have four close friends (3 men, 1 woman) whom I’ve known for 45-50 years. We’ve lived together when someone was out of a job, we’ve helped each other out at tough times. When one of them had his brother die when we were only 31 (his brother 29), I got the news at 10am, told people at work I would be gone the next few days, was on a plane and at his side by 5pm. And he’d do the same for me. That’s family, wouldn’t you say?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    As we go through life, we all grow in different ways. We sometimes focus on how we are different during these periods, rather than looking for some of those things we still share. Look for those little things you like together, and the rest will come over time, Kyle.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Intimacy is hard. It’s easy to have ‘friends’. It’s a lot of work to be a real friend, to really be a family. It takes time and effort, pain and patience, don’t you think? More importantly, Marian, prayers for your brother.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    I too have been the ‘responsible child’ in my family. Looks like Marian, Daniel and I have a lot in common! On the other hand, think of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Every time I get tired of being the ‘go-to’ person, I realize that I actually have always felt most comfortable in that role (lots of control), and that as Jimmy Stewart in that movie, I am making a little difference in the lives of those I touch. That really helps me get through those tough days and weeks.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    And that ‘pick me up’ is the role good business partners play for each other. Usually when my business partner is getting tired, I find a little strength. And when I’m ready to give up, she has some new program to try which she finds exciting. As I also like to say like the ‘reach your dreams’ quote: each of us has a spark of divinity inside us, and it is our greatest aspiration to set off that spark in one another.

  • Tuan Tran (Toby)

    Mark, i meant that why do we treat people who are non-family member nice all the time like colleague, friends.. While when we go home and we got upset with work and school.. We just throw our angry on our family members which i do it all the time. That i really need to work on.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Got it! Me too. I will get off the phone with a mere client who has been a real pain, and then I’ll go downstairs and yell at my wife over something small. She didn’t do anything. Of course, we feel more comfortable with our loved ones, that no matter how we treat them, they can take it and won’t leave — or no longer hire us like that client. But you are sooooo right. I too have been working on that one for years. Now maybe my youngest daughter could take the hint and treat her parents better!:)

  • Long Bach

    Your article is very interesting. In the past, I always believe in a family everybody has others’ backs. But I always take advantage on that and receive support from others and think that I need not pay back the favor because we are family. However, when one of my dear family members pass away, I regret that I did not have his/her back when he/she needs the most. Through those painful memory that helps shape my understanding of family is a give and take relationship that is not required but implied in a way.

  • Fc Ngoc Tran

    Its really a meaningful artile and I like the way you combine two different stories in order to express your messages to the audiences. As an international student living far away from my family, I realize and appreciate more what our family’s members have done to each other. Sometimes we hurt our family but they still forgive and love us no matter what. Your second story reminds me of my father so much. A few years ago, he said that he wouldn’t expect me to take care of him when he gets old and all he wishes is that I could take care of myself and my future family. I thought that he might not think I would be successful so thats why he didn’t put a lot of hope on me. However, after reading the second story, I think I understand more about what family means to me. Family is an uncondition love. We give love without expecting anything in return. I owe my parents an appology which I cant express by words.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you for sharing. You certainly don’t owe your folks an apology. It’s all about maturing. And you understand it now. As scriptures say, when you do for another, you do for me. When you take care of your child, my grandchild, you do for me, your parent, too, don’t you think?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    What does it mean, Long, to have each other’s back? Two stories of family relationships here, each different, which model are you looking at, the first?

  • Jessica Walker

    When I think “family” I think of the people who have been for me all of my life, loved me unconditionally, people I feel most comfortable around and people I would do anything for. Yes, obviously I think about my immediate family (mom, dad, brother, sister) but there are also others that I place into this category of family. I have two best friends, one of which I met at the age of 3, and the other in kindergarten. Maintaining these relationships in elementary school, middle school and high school was a breeze, but there is always that concern for when you go away to college. However, college did not effect our relationship whatsoever. Sure, I don’t text them as much as I used to, or I don’t call them probably as much as I should… but once we’re all back home, it’s like we had spent no time apart, we pick up right where we left off. I place these two friends in my family because they have such a large, unforgettable place in my heart and my life. Something I could do better is to make sure to call them more often just to see how they are doing, we get so caught up in our own lives I become a little selfish.

  • Ratkowski

    This post really reminds me the importance of family. When I think about my family, I think about my brothers and sisters. I would do anything for them. I love them all equally and wouldn’t be who I am today without either of their influences. It’s true. When you have a family, you have more than just yourself to look out for. But you also have other people looking out for you. In business, it is desirable to have a workplace that resembles the characteristics of a family for that very reason. Support. People thrive when they feel loved and supported. Who wouldn’t want that feeling in the work place? Businesses who’s company culture serves as a family would be more productive in general than working for a business who does not seem like family.

  • TSpeals

    As an only child from a family with few extended relatives, I’ve always tried my best to incorporate others into my “family”. I learned early on that your family isn’t always related to you by blood, but rather the people you are willing to really go out of your way for. In my experience, teams and groups that embrace this mindset are always more successful because they are willing to go the extra mile for each other.

    Interesting article! Thank you for exploring this subject a little deeper.

  • robins30

    In my opinion, family isnt just your blood relatives. It is people you are willing to help even if it is an inconvenience. If a company really can get their employees to view themselves as part of a family, than that could only be a good thing for the company.

  • Krystel Listyo

    First of all, thank you for such a great article! I really like how you incorporate stories to the article. It makes a lot more sense to relate it to our own experience. I feel like we’re so caught up in bigger things that we tend to forget the simple ones. When I think about the word ‘family’, I immediately think of a group of 2 or more people who love and respect each other. They don’t necessarily have to be heterogeneous couples nor have to have children in order to be a complete family. Family can be anyone in any group within our society. You can call your work friends or best friends your family. There’s no limitation in calling people your family when you can feel comfortable and be the most you when they’re around. I’m fortunate for being able to call my parents and younger brother my real family, because they are always there for me through thick and thin. They are the reason why I’m convinced that people you called ‘your family’ will always be there for you. I haven’t had any work-related experience, but I’m excited to find out if my work friends can really be called ‘family’. Again, thank you for bringing this topic up!

  • Jcoppa

    I loved those stories, this is a great read! I am the baby of the family, so it seems for my whole life my parents and older brother have been taking care of me and making sure I’m following the right path. I used to think it was bothersome, them always telling me what to do… but now I see my family was just trying to make sure I knew how to handle situations and that I would be successful.

    I relate to the bird story the most. My brother was a huge influence in my life. But there is nothing I can do for him. I have a younger cousin who needs direction, so I am her biggest fan and now that shes about to be in high school, I know she will be annoyed with me as well. But one day, she’ll understand I only bugged her because I want her to succeed.

  • Jcoppa

    Part of me disagrees with the idea of family at work… Yes, you can have a work family, but people at work cannot be your family. What I’m trying to say, is that work has a lot of competitive aspects, and blood family does as well. But at work, people are sometimes willing to step on others to get ahead. In family, that should never happen. Families boost people up, not step over them to get ahead. Family is always there for you, after years of not talking, after huge fights, after success and loss… Work can fire you for a mistake, then usually you have no reason to talk to those former co-workers anymore. Family always has a connection, nothing can break up a strong family.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    I am 63 and have one male friend who I roomed with from 13-22, prep school and college, one I met at prep school at 14 years old, one from freshman year in college, and one female friend from freshman year in college. We live in Boston (me), D.C., South Carolina, Atlanta and Miami. I get together with them in different combinations at least once every year. We make it a priority. Four of us just went last week to another roommates’ daughters wedding in Charlottesville, VA – for the wedding but also to spend two days together with our wives as well. So we make an effort – I more than the rest, frankly, but once I put something out there, they all respond well. We take care of each other, some of us have lived together when we needed to, etc. You are right, Jessica. They are “family.” We are always there for each other no matter what.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    My mom’s business (manufacturer of high end textiles for yachts, planes, and home furnishings) has three “execs,” all have been with her for over 35 years. They are family. In other situations, however, particularly in today’s business world, I don’t know how well family works — when you can be let go tomorrow, when better offers take people away every 18 months. That said, I’m looking for what qualities from family relationships, which aspects, do you bring to work, and which help you, and which may not be as helpful? Love to learn more what you think about that :)

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you. Do you think you need to be together for a certain amount of time for “teams” to become family and do better? Or is time not relevant?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    How is having employees view themselves a ‘good thing’ and how might it not be so good?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    You are welcomed, Krystel. When you do start working, do you think you’ll be looking for a ‘family’ culture, and if so, what will that mean to you at work, given what you just said so clearly in the above paragraph about your parents and younger brother. Do those relationships help you be a better employee?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Passing on the tradition :) Will that kind of behavior be something you will bring to work? And if so, how? ‘Family’ cultures, behaviors may be a plus, but can also be a minus at certain workplaces, don’t you think?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Very true and similar to a comment I made below. On the other hand — just to play devil’s advocate — the #1 reason millennials are happy at work is that they like their boss and people they work with. They don’t have to be family, but it is a place they enjoy. What aspects of family do you think may work in certain workplaces? Which clearly don’t work?

  • Palecekb

    oh absolutely, everything matches almost perfectly. I know that my boyfriend feels he is not needed in the times where I just take care of the manly things he should be doing like killing spiders or fixing something on my car. I just find it more of a hassle to ask for help then to just take care of it myself.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    I hear you. It happens when you are raising children — easier for me to take out the trash than at times, wait for my teenagers to do it (they are all mid-20s + now) — and at work – easier right now to get this career fair going than on my 47th email with the person in LA I brought on to do it. But if you do that, then you can’t complain that you ‘do everything, no one helps out here’ or that you are exhausted and overtired because you have to do everything at work. Another time, I could get a little ‘academic’ here; it is the basis of the law of comparative advantage–a critical set of theorems about how international trade works. Suffice it to say now, it says that even if you can do everything better than someone else, over time it is important that you focus on your high-value added things and let the other do the rest. For example, I could always type faster (and better) than all of my ‘secretaries’, except for one (Jill was unbelievable). But it made sense for Professor Mark to do his research and have her type. Does this make any sense? (Critical complex mathematical theory explained in two sentences.) Oh, well, back to writing :)

  • Palecekb

    yes, I find myself doing all the work in group projects(which I Hate) because I feel others will not do a good enough job when I really need the A. But I can see where you give the example of the professor doing his actual job of teaching and researching rather then the small task of writing it down.

  • Calvin Theyer

    Whenever I hear the world family, all I imagine is the entity: a mother and a father, with their children. I totally overlooked the significance of that word, until I read the story in this article. I realized that family is really all about love, sharing, and giving. It is not a noun, but a verb. The story just impeccably illustrate how the action of putting their brother before themselves is what defines a family; it is not the blood relations.

    This makes me reevaluate who I consider my family. My family is anyone I love so dearly, that I would consider their needs to be equally as important as mine. The role that I play as a family member is of course to be courteous and supportive. As in any relationship, it takes effort to maintain, which means having to compromise on both ends. What I, and anyone could do better is to become more sensitive and understanding of another’s need and less for our own. We all are so consumed with our challenges, that we need a kindness from others to remind us that there are things that are more important – things like family.

  • ysursan

    Mark, thank you for your article! The meaning of family has been a very intriguing topic to me the last few years, as I have witnessed four painful divorces within my immediate family. I often ask myself the same question you ask; what does the concept of “family” really mean, and what role does family play? Through being surrounded by all of these distressing experiences, I have also had to reflect on what I can do better as a family member myself. I really appreciated the biblical story you shared in the beginning of your article, as it reflects how amazing the concept family can be when you think about your loved ones’ needs before your own. In doing this, as you reminded us, it is important to understand the relationship that you have with ourselves. I believe that family are those who embody the values you communicate with your readers. Family does not have to be blood. Family are those who embrace and love you whole-heartedly while also fully understanding the relationship that they have with themselves. Your article brought me back to all of the valuable lessons I have learned throughout my life- thank you!

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    You can’t do it all, and no one else does things exactly like you do, so you need to take the time to train and then make sure the big stuff in their job is getting done, and let the little stuff go.

  • Josh Pritchard

    Janna I too consider my family as my mom, dad, brothers, sister, all my relatives, cousins, etc. I think today there are still plenty of people that value family and then there are some who don’t. So I don’t think that people are valuing family less, they just aren’t appreciating them as much.

  • Tim Rutkowski

    Great post Mark. I am curious to know if this is the last of your post on Family? I haven’t read all of the series but I like the topics that you are touching on. The only that i didn’t understand is the relationship with yourself.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Yes, Tim. This is a serialization of my next book, with a commentary section for each book section, so if you haven’t read along, you may be a little lost. The entire book is on my relationship with my Dad, but I will be using it to branch off into other business topics beyond workplace as family, so to speak. For example, the next entry, the commentary will be looking at whether you seek questions or answers as a leader, and what is the difference. So different sections of the book will raise different topics: forgiveness, kindness, risk-taking, etc. The book’s main message however does involve family, specifically intergenerational empathy.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    You are welcome. Just trying to get you to think a little deeper, act a little sooner, with empathy, kindness and compassion. And yes, I do believe it starts with how you feel about yourself. I will be giving two commencement speeches in a couple of weeks, and for one of them, I will be asking the graduates to be a little kinder to themselves. Find joy in life, and give joy. So yes, divorces are miserable, but many happen because we take family, spouses in particular, for granted, and don’t put in the daily/weekly/monthly effort to keep our relationships meaningful and growing.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Calvin – I LOVE your insight: Family “is not a noun, but a verb.” Could you explain more than above. What does it mean, say, as an infinitive: “to family.” Again, thank you for your wisdom!

  • Jcoppa

    Well I agree that people should be happy and like the people they work with, absolutely. And I have a wonderful work-rapport at my current job, but they could never compare to the people who raised me and the people who know my best and worst qualities. Blood family is the strongest bond I will ever have, and I cannot imagine anyone coming close to that relationship. Until I make my own family…

  • BartuchGR11

    Thank you for posting this blog. I found the blog interesting because I do often think that when we think of family its about having a mom, dad and siblings. I agree that there is more to the word family. Family is also about showing love and supporting each other no matter what. Do you think that a lot of family think of family as a noun or a verb?

  • Keeli Gilbert

    Jess!!
    I couldn’t agree with you more. We do get so caught up in our own lives that we do forget what family really means. I do not know the definition and I feel not many of us ACTUALLY know, but as well as you, I feel that it is the love and the memories that we share and that no matter what happens you will always be able to have that “love” for one another.

  • Keeli Gilbert

    Mark, I always love you reading your articles and look for them every time I log on.
    I must agree with you!!
    We do get so caught up in our own lives that we become selfish and we forget to do the things that may be necessary within a family.
    When I first left high school, I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of my house. Just get away go anywhere, but stay with my family. In March of my senior year, my step grandfather passed away. I wasn’t really close with him, but it still hurt. By this time school was just about over and I was getting ready to move to UW-Platteville for some space and to start my first year of college. August right before move in day, my grandmother passed away. She was my best friend. At this point I was still caught up in myself to realize that I had lost my closest family member. And it wasn’t until after spending 3 weeks in Platteville WITHOUT my family that I realized, I wanted to go back home.
    I am not back in my home town, not that Platteville was bad at all, but I mean there’s nothing like being home.
    In high school, my mom and I did not get along at all!! It wasn’t until I left for college that I realized that I really did miss my mom and that I took for granted all the times we had together to do my own dumb high school shenanigans.
    Family is so much more important to me right now that I realized nothing is better then to see your parents and to realize that they have unconditional love and I feel like that is my real “definition” of family. Where you could do something so stupid and those people still love you no matter what. That nothing could change their mind about how they feel about you. We recently have been going through some tough times within my family and some stupid decisions that someone has done, but we still see them the same and we don’t let anything that that person has done effect that way that we think of them or our love for them. We may find this in a significant other or even a long lost friend. Thanks for the article and helping me really realize what my definition of “family” is.

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    This is one of the most moving articles I have ever read on Unreasonable. It may be the young adult in me, but I would consider a couple of my close friends closer than most of my family. I think that developing relationships with people who are unrelated often creates deeper connections than with blood relatives because we choose to love them instead of feel that we have to. I’ve always felt somewhat entitled to love my family. Not that I’m complaining. :)

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    Employees with confidence can lead to wonderful things for a company, and is one of the keys for advancement in all areas of life. Unfortunately, confidence can get out of hand and grow to be an attitude problem.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    I don’t know. I never thought of it until Calvin’s comment below. I’m going to put it into my next post, I think. The point is to me that is something active, not passive, a process, not a finished product, a blood-line can start it, but without the proper behavior, that’s not family. What do you think? Is it a noun or a verb and what does that mean to you?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    You are welcome. Yes, absence and distance often make the heart grow fonder. You also have shared memory with these people. They knew you when you were ‘just a sprout’ and you share so much of the past, the title of my next blog (memory). I’m glad you are developing a more mature definition of family that is meaningful and actionable for you.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Yes, Alexandra. With family, we don’t think much about it. With friends we do. The trick with friends is do you work to stay close as you raise kids in different parts of the country/world? Do you see each other pretty regularly, and start right where you left off? It can be a real challenge in your 30s and 40s. I have four close friends (two of whom I just saw at a wedding in VA – we three live in Boston, D.C. and Atlanta) who I’ve known for 45-50 years. We email, call, see each other, and go to weddings like this as ways we keep close. And we take care of each other when needed, too. I hope you have that with your friends as you become a full-grown :) adult.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    What do you mean by “confidence can get out of hand?” Does being “family” lead to bad attitude, a sense of entitlement, Alexandra? (thanks for the two comments :)

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    I hear you. Work friends come and go but family is forever :)

  • byrnesbk24

    Family to me means tradition. My family has so many traditions that if we miss one or change one i feel soar about it. I love my family traditions they remind me of my childhood, growing up and especially my grandparents who have passed. My family is so close to one another that I don’t think I could ever move to far away from them, id miss em too much!!!

  • Max Rude

    When i think family i think of the people who have been there for me. I have came from a broken family but over the years i have found new friends that grew into family friends and then family.

  • Slepicka12

    Thank you for sharing your article it was really a great read! When I think about the word family I think people who are there to support you through your decisions and someone who constantly loves you. Families have their ups and down but if they really can work together can get through most anything.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Interesting, when you say ‘tradition’, what exactly do you mean?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Does your family, though ‘broken’, still support you well, and you them? My folks were divorced when I was three, and when I was growing up, ages 8 -12, I got to see my Dad much more than friends whose parents were together. My Dad would see me every weekend, whereas my friends hardly ever saw their fathers, who were always working (We lived in a wealthy New York City suburb.) So in my case, I feel I got more support, particularly paternally, from a broken home.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    What makes a family, like your family, work better together? What hinders that togetherness?

  • Slepicka12

    I feel what makes our family better is spending time together and always being there when we need each other most.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you. Curious. How much time do you spend together?

  • Slepicka12

    We spend as much time as we can together. Sporting events for my siblings, going out to dinner, family parties, and just enjoying each others company.

  • Max Rude

    Interesting. I can’t say I had the same luck, but i’m glad there is a positive effect for you and I assume others out there also. I do believe I had support it was just harder for my mom and later on in life my step dad to do, because they where constantly working. I never saw my “dad” after I was 4. However i Know i could call my step dad or mom at anytime for help.

  • Marian326

    Thank you Mark & Daniel. This has been an emotional weekend with finishing my classes, conversing with siblings about the brother who had the heart attack, having one brother visit from MT, and Mother’s day…In general I don’t mind being the go to person, but I do mind the emotions that go with it…

  • Marian326

    Thank you Mark for your prayers. Brother Bill is doing great! He had a stent put in and is home. Intimacy is very difficult, does take much effort, pain and patience, but it also takes a large amount of tolerance. I find it so difficult to converse with family that does not agree with me. I am able to agree to disagree, but others get so upset with “republican” or “democrat” in the family. I just want us to be civil to each other and genuinely care for each other. I know that I can’t change anyone and that I am only responsible for my behavior. Again, thank you for your words and thought provoking questions. I bought one of your books and it arrived yesterday. I look forward to reading it soon.

  • Siden

    Thank you for the question. This is a very hard question. My
    family’s perspectives shaped most decisions I have made. I admit that sometimes I had conflict ideas with my family, but they followed my decisions after listening to my reasons. They never force me to do things I don’t like. Instead, they just use reasons to advice me and always support my decisions
    after all. Both my family and I have different reasons but mostly the same interests. It’s hard to do things that can satisfy both family and me but I sometimes have to balance desires of my family and mine. For a lifetime commitment, I know I should use the real me to make decisions (ignore the external ideas). In order to reach the fullest potential of life, I think I should use the real me to make decisions (I know it’s easy say, hard do because
    the environment and culture have influenced me since I was young). You asked me what happens when I have my own family, the priority goes to my parents or my
    own family. My answer is it depends.

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    You’ve brought up a good point. I’ve experienced the distancing of close friends after high school when we went to different colleges. It was a challenge just making the time and having the money to visit then, so I can only imagine the difficulties if I have a “real” job with a family and kids.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Got it. But in an ‘average’ month, say, how many times do you get together?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Yes, Max. Thanks for sharing. This ‘constantly busy’ stuff has been a challenge for many sons and daughters with their parents, particularly fathers. I must say that when I was in my early teens, and my Dad was working like crazy to try to support a wife and four children, he always made time for me, particularly around sports, which were incredibly important to me, and now I remember, he even made me do four summer book reports before my first year (8th grade) in a top private school, as English was my weakest subject (came from a family of math jocks :).

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Understand. As life often happens in ‘bunches’ we can get overwhelmed–even if it is all good. We feel guilty, but the truth is, everything, even good things, take energy, and sometimes we just need a break. I remember Ben Cohen (Ben and Jerry’s) telling me one time about how miserable his work life was as each day he was involved in 10 great things he had to participate in. Wouldn’t it be really great, Ben asked, if that could just be 2-3, so I could really enjoy them? (and not be so exhausted). Rest up — good decisions are made with good rest, bad decisions are made by the tired.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you, Marian. Yes, we have often set a ‘rule’ of no ‘violent conversation’. We can always disagree, but with respect, and we try to keep these things non-personal. I simply avoid a lot of topics with my family, like politics. “Kill Obama, etc. etc.” I’ll hear. Again, I don’t mind disagreeing with his policies, etc., but many family members will make personal attacks and say stupid, ugly things. So I’ve learned over the years in my relationships not just tolerance, but what to discuss and what to just not listen to. Makes for more peace… at least in my life :)

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Oooh, nice ending with ‘it depends.’ I agree. It depends on what the decision and circumstances are. I also think that as you age, a lot of ‘you’ has integrated so much of them that the tug of two masters eventually becomes just one, especially when the ‘other’ are these people who have loved you all your life. Agree?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Or when someone simply moves away. My 26 year old’s best friend just got a job offer about 200 miles from here and will probably take it. They had a whole summer of activities planned together. She’s heartbroken. The question then is, how do you keep that relationship going?

  • Amy Pham

    Thank you again for sharing such a wonderful article! Your articles are always so meaningful. Whenever I think of the word “Family”, I always feel so peaceful and feel like I need to get a ticket to get to my parents and my brother right away because I miss them. Family is where we constantly sharing love and support with each other. Family is where you will receive unstoppable love no matter what mistake you would make. Without family, I don’t think I can be here in the United States doing what I want to do. Sometimes I just wish that I had not made my parents upset when I was younger because of my childishness. Now having all grown up, I always think about my family before I make a decision so that it makes them happy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.lookman karlyn lukman

    Thank you for sharing this great article!,

    when people think about family generally, they knew its mom dad and siblings.

    when i think about word “family” is people who always be there for me though thick and thin, to support me whatever i want to do right thing, and stop me for doing a wrong thing.
    my parents and my sister are my “main family”, but i do have others that i can called family. I’m studying abroad to Seattle from Indonesia at first, i didn’t know anyone here i came here by my self and live by my self. But when you already found a good community that you can fit in and comfort with and you can trust them. i could say it as a “family”.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Amy, how kind of you to share. Why is it that your family is so close and loving whereas many families have jealousies and aren’t so supportive?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    ‘Surround yourself with a community of love’ is one of my 12 lifelines in my More Than Money book. Sounds like you are doing that. Coming over along, how did you find and build that community of friends and support?

  • Marian326

    I had this same conversation with my father today. I asked him to please not bring up politics with my brother this weekend…should be an interesting weekend!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.lookman karlyn lukman

    i don’t know, may be just be yourself , do not trying to be someone else to be accepted in a community and respect each others

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Good luck. Please tell me how it goes. Sometimes we all need to just let things go, but within a family, with everyone pushing each other’s ‘buttons’, it can be hard to do.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Good rule to ‘play by': be yourself and respect others. Well-said, Karlyn.

  • Junhan Shi

    Thank you for posting this article. I come from China, and I am the only child in my family because we have the “One Child” policy. Since most of us do not have siblings, both child and parents usually treat family as the most important relationship in our life. When I was young, I have been told that I was responsible for my parents, and I must look after them when they are old. They give all their love to me who is the only child in the family, so I always believe that I should return back after I grow up. I am willing do anything for them, and I do believe that they have already done this for me. Moreover, we are very close to our relatives. They bring me to visit my grandparents once a week, and all of our relatives will get together on important festivals. As a result, I think this culture makes me have a strong sense about family, and it also lets me learn how to get along with different relatives. Thus, I totally agree with your idea about “Being a family”.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you for sharing. The family closeness sounds wonderful, but how do you feel about the “One Child” policy (personally, not in terms of for the Nation)? It seems ironic, don’t you think, that with family so important, you can not have a sibling.

  • Hanna Boyd

    When I consider the “family” in my life, the world spans well beyond those who are related to me by blood. My family are those around me (physically or not) who influence the person I am today and will become. In fact, I had a beautiful moment to realize this just this past weekend as I reached the milestone of graduating from college. As I looked around my the celebration that followed the actual ceremony, I was absolutely filled with joy and contentment because I felt that everyone I loved – my family – was all around me. Each had played a significant role in bringing me to where I was that day. Financial support and unconditional love from direct relatives (not to mention endless laughter and support even when I have made my biggest “oopses”), the co-workers who have supported me and encouraged me toward my next steps in life, and the friends who have seen me throughout it all! These people are all family to me. Each role they have in my life means the world, and not one of them could, or myself, could have done it better. If we wanted to change things that would change where we are today.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you for contributing, Hanna – it seems to be working, eh?

  • Siden

    That’s right. I agree.

  • 2lvinC

    Thank you very much
    for this article. I enjoyed how the article incorporated family
    into the business life. Through Southwest’s example, I can the result of their
    success. I also enjoyed the phrase “Relationships we have with others begin
    with the relationship we have with ourselves.” By reflecting on their own
    business, Southwest was able to create a stronger relationship with their
    clients.

  • Hien

    I come from a culture that the “family” concept plays such an important role in our life. We are attached to our family closely even when we are matured enough to build one on our own. Talking about “family”, I think about people who share the same moral norms with me, who are close and related to me, biologically and spiritually. It’s kinda disappointed thinking of the value of family is undervalued by the recent generation. In my opinion, individualism are great, but not all dependence are bad. Developing and improving together as a group can benefit a lot more if you do it the right way, especially in a family

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Yes, by focusing on their people, and making sure they felt good, SW felt it could bring that feeling to customers as well, just as if we do it with ourselves, it is easier to then develop those kind of relationships with others, right?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Yes, in the U.S. there is such an “independent” value that we sometimes forget that dependence, or at least the recognition of “interdependence” is good. Why has this generation lost, as you suggest, the sense of the importance of interdependence?

  • Eunice Lam

    This was a great post to read! This is the second article that I’ve read from you, and both of them have been very intriguing. I love what you write about in your series because everyone can relate to them. It definitely makes me think about how I treat my family and the people around me. I don’t see my family enough right now because I am in another state, but for my friends and coworkers, they are my families away from home. We spend all this time together and create a bond, and we take time understanding each other that it’s hard not to feel like a family (or at least really close) after a certain time. I also really like Kristen’s response to her sister; it’s a good reminder that the more people you care for and the more love you spread, it’ll reciprocate and more people would care for you as well.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you, Eunice. With your friends, what makes some ‘family’ and others not? Is it mostly how much time to feather so something(s) else?

  • Juhno Mann

    When I think of family, I think of those that I would do anything in my power to help, and who feel the same way about me. This doesn’t apply to just those in my immediate family, but also friends I have developed deep relationships with over time.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Does it not apply, Juhno, to certain members of your immediate family, or to all of them, no matter what?

  • jmpatridge

    Not even reading the post I am going to tell you what I think. (only the headline) Family to me is someone that is always by your side related or not. Growing up I have more unrelated cousins then I do related ones. They will stand by my side no matter what, this is family. Sure some people might have the same last name or blood but are they truly “family?” I found this out being my mom was adopted into her family and I always asked her about her “real mom.” She said her real mom was my Nana and that is all that mattered. Family is about who takes you in not who gets rid of you.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    What is your role in being someone family takes in vs gets rid of you? Is it automatic or do you have some responsibility, too?

  • Matthew Manley-Browne

    Thank you Mark for your post! When I think of Family, I think of a group of people who are always there for you through thick and thin. I feel that the term family is a broad concept instead of just referring to a group of people who are blood related. I am in a fraternity on campus and live with most of the guys in a house. Because we are constantly looking out for one another and offering help when needed, such as relationship advice or homework help, I feel as though the men that I live with are a second family to me. I think that if you were to ask people who they would consider a part of their family, many people would include close friends or neighbors whom they have shared some sort of live experience with. One question I would ask is this: Do you believe that as a society we all have an unconscious draw to help one another out or look out for one another even if the person is not considered family?

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    I would like to say ‘yes’, Matthew, and for some people I think that is true. But unless in need, I believe most people need to be trained and taught to look out for the other — unless it is important for them as well. True altruism is often only sustainable if it is based in self-interest. Like your school chums, I’m still close to 4 friends from high school and college – 50 years of friendship with each on average! But there were hundreds I’ve been close to over the years, but then people get busy, go their own ways, some are better than others at keeping in touch. Family is forever — like it or not — but I believe that is only true with very few friends over time, as we graduate, disperse and get busy in our own lives.

  • hirthjp18

    Coming from divorced parents and having them remarried my view of family might be a little different then others. Family doesn’t have to be blood instead I look at it as people who accept you. I consider my step father and his family more as my family then my actual blood relatives. Its the people who accept and love you unconditionally that make it family. I have goods friend that I consider family because over time you grow to become that. I look at them as brothers, people I would do anything for. These are people who understand me best and care.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Understand. As Warren Buffet once said when asked about family, he said he learned what family was from an Auschwitz holocaust survivor, “Family are the people that will hide you.” Love you no matter what.

  • Carly Konkol

    Family is the single most important thing to me. As I have gotten older, I have learned just how much value it has to me. Also, since I am going to be an aunt in a few weeks, I have been closer than ever to my big brothers. Family means; support, unconditional love, laughter and an understanding between one another that can never be matched. I include my family, immediate and extended, as well as my friends. I value all of these people first and foremost. I try to show all of these people how much they mean to me on a daily basis. One thing I could do better is show my appreciation in more ways then just saying it. Sometimes I take others for granted, especially my mom, and I want to improve on that. Thank you for this post!!

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    Thank you, Carly. Just remember, however, that as time goes on, you’ll lose touch with many friends. A few will stay around for life (I have 3 male and one female friend I remain close to after 45-50 years!), but family is really forever.

  • Marian326

    I found the statement, “family are the people that will hide you,” very profound. I too feel that family is not always your blood relatives, but instead are those that will hide you, support you, tell you when you are wrong, and keep your secrets. I have friends that will do that. I do not feel that most of my blood family would do that. I am comforted by the fact that my son “would die for me” and that my best friend would be at my side in a moment, but I also know that they are human. I know that humans will let me down, and in addition, I need to keep my eyes on the author and perfecter of my faith, Jesus Christ.
    As an older adult who has recently reestablished a relationship with my father, I need to reach out and be a better sister to my siblings. It is easy to be upset and to hold onto anger when siblings do not meet our expectations. I need to set the standard and reach out to them.
    Thanks Mark for one more thought provoking article that has inspired me to reflect on my relationships and to make them better.

  • http://www.mtmcareers.com Mark Albion

    You are welcome, Marian. I stopped writing this series in early June and will pick it up again in December when the site will better accommodate my serialization. In the meantime, look for my blogs on why this serialization matters to social entrepreneurs and this audience.