Family has always been important to me. I’m the oldest girl in a family of four siblings. I’ve always been the responsible one, the one that everyone can count on. My parents groomed me to be that way, with high expectations of me at a young age. I can’t say that I’ve always embraced that role, but it has served me well as I’ve gotten older. I was consumed with cleaning, watching my younger siblings and making sure everything was taken care of before my parents got home from work. Truth be told, at ten-years old I could run a household. Somehow, I still managed to be a girl scout, take baton twirling lessons, run track and serve as co-captain of the cheerleading team.
Now that I have my own kids, I remind myself often to lighten up, and relax. Relationships are more important than things. I suppose that contributed to my pursuing an advanced degree in the helping professions.
My desire to help is deeply rooted in me. It’s who I am. I’m fortunate that I have a husband who understands that about me. He jokes about me giving all the money away, and wanting to help everybody. I would, especially those who really need it.
Recently, I’ve added a new member to our household. My sixteen-year old nephew will be living with us while finishing his last two years of high school. He moved to Ohio from Alabama a few weeks ago.
He was raised by my mom and lived with her all of his life. She passed away in November of 2013. It’s been a tough adjustment for him. He moved in with his mom and has not been thriving as we expected. Understandably so, losing someone you love at a young age can be tough on a teen. My sister and I agreed that I might be able to guide him and help him reach his true potential. He’s a good student, polite and very respectful. He would like to go on to college and we all want that for him too. He’s interested in becoming a pilot.
I have to be honest, even though I have a helping spirit, I was somewhat hesitant. Hesitant not because he was trouble in any way, but just concerned about the impact it would have on my kids and also the financial implications. Adding a 16-year-old kid to your household is a big deal especially since I have three kids of my own at home. With any major decision, you have to weigh everything and think things through. We did all of that and he’s here now. My kids are all supportive and have a great relationship with their cousin.
He’s no stranger to my family. He has spent time with us over the summers and vacationed with us on many occasions. These last few weeks since his arrival have been spent squeezing in some fun, establishing household rules, adjusting to chores and determining allowances. My teens want a lot of things, so why not teach them the value of working for what they want. Plus we live in a cooperative household. Now that they are older, they need to help out.
Exploring New Orleans with my family. Nephew on the far left, hubby and kids.
We are fortunate in that all kids have their own rooms. That eliminates a lot of drama. We’ve also set behavioral expectations in terms of how they should treat one another. I’m very clear on the type of environment that I expect in my home. In fact, I’m very protective of the environment.
I’m sure there will be bumps in the road but we’ll work it out. My husband is always right by my side and is very supportive. He believes in helping others, especially young people. We are now parenting two teens, and two tweens.
As my kids have grown, I’ve learned that teens and tweens also require a lot of attention. It’s just at a different level. For example, my daughter just got her permit and wants to drive everywhere. I’m still getting used to that. I was afraid to ride with her at first, but she is a good driver. My nephew is right behind her. Can I handle two teen drivers in the same household? My nerves are bad just thinking about it!!
Developing young people who are intelligent, ambitious, compassionate, fun-loving, God-fearing, and people of integrity is a tough job. I’m ready and willing to pour into them everything I’ve got. The ground work is being laid every day.
Have you raised a family member or welcomed someone into your home?
Peace and Blessings,