Family Support Thanksgiving

What Does Family Support Look Like To You?

By Cory McCoy

The past year has been one of the most difficult many of us will ever experience. As I talk to people about what has helped get them through the year, one common theme that has surprised me is reconnecting with family and chosen family.

Restrictions on travel, gatherings and even community events can make you feel isolated, but folks keep telling me that thanks to technology they’ve been able to use that time to reach out to brothers, aunts or childhood best friends that they’ve drifted away from.

As we roll Sources of Strength out to schools across the area, we are challenging students to think about how family support helps them, and what that looks like.

We know that not everyone has a supportive biological family, and that family actually can be an area of difficulty in someone’s life. One of the most beautiful lessons we learn as we get older though is that family can be who we make it. A chosen family transcends the household you were born into.

Our family, and chosen family, is there to support us, protect us and help us get through the hard times.

What does family support look like to you? For me, it’s people who I care about that also respect my boundaries.

A lot of us probably grew up calling someone an aunt or uncle, only to be surprised to learn they weren’t actually related. Some of us have a friend whose mom, or grandmother, has adopted the entire friendship group into her nest. Or you might have a fatherly figure in your life that models positive, healthy masculinity for your children.

I often joke that my friends like my mom more than they like me. For many of my closest friends, she is also their chosen family. Every year we get together for a “Friendsgiving” that is a mix of each others’ family and chosen family, and each year our chosen families seem to get  a little bigger.

Is there someone in your life that you’ve just drifted away from, due to the hectic world we live in? Earlier this year Wired compiled 10 ways to stay connected even when we’re apart.

As I was recently reminded of on social media, the struggle we’re dealing with to feel connected is something that immigrants and those in the diaspora (a scattered people) have been navigating for years.

The good thing is, we all have more tools than ever before to help us stay connected. Have you been raving to friends about The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix? Why not set up a board at home and challenge someone to a game. Whether you make just one move each day or several, that’s a special connection you have with your “opponent.” It’s a time honored tradition that has worked its way into countless movies. Even when life is busy, all you have to do is reach out and make the next move. If you don’t each have a chess set, I’m willing to bet there’s an app for that.

So what does family support look like to you? Let us know on your favorite social media platform, to help us all celebrate the people we are thankful for together.