Time with family is something many college students struggle to appreciate. Upon graduating high school, we are excited to explore the world without the constraints of parental guidance. We are thankful for independence and the ability to prove our autonomy at every turn.
When we return home for breaks and holidays, time with our parents can feel tedious and monotonous. We are back in our hometowns, sitting down for family dinners and being forced to provide repetitious answers to the all-too-familiar questions about school and classes and life plans.
It is easy to roll our eyes and maneuver through the motions of the holidays, counting down the days until we can finally pack up our cars again and drive quickly back to our own sovereign lives, but we ought to slow down and appreciate the moments we get with our families during the upcoming holiday breaks.
Certainly, we all have dysfunction in our families—no one’s relationship with their parents or extended relatives is perfect. There is bound to be drama, and while we may not always like everything our relatives say or do during the holidays, we should love them anyway. Simply having a group of people to sit down and eat a Thanksgiving meal with is something to give thanks for.
The idea of valuing family is all too easily forgotten in the current culture—we can keep up with our parents and other relatives via Facebook or text message, so sitting down for a lengthy conversation seems unnecessary and perhaps too time consuming. But there are many things which we can experience when engaged in an active conversation that cannot be conveyed with technology.
I will always love how my mom’s hugs feel when I walk in the door—I cannot feel those over the phone. The conversations I have sitting on a barstool in my kitchen with my dad as he washes the dishes after a home-cooked meal cannot be recreated in a Facebook post. The way my younger brother’s eyes light up when I ask him about his dreams and goals cannot be seen through a text message.
The way my grandma offers coffee after Thanksgiving dinner is something that will always make me smile. My family and I sit and sip from warm mugs as we muse about the year and make Christmas Eve plans and flip through the plethora of Black Friday advertisements. No, I do not always agree with everything every person at the table says, but the ambiance full of love and care after a carefully cooked meal is something that connects each person who sits and participates.
This Thanksgiving, no matter what has occurred throughout the year, we all ought to be actively engaged in the holidays with our loved ones. We must choose to forgive the faults and appreciate the things our families have done for us—no matter how small.
When we choose to partake in the festivities, however seemingly unimportant or ostensibly mundane, we allow ourselves to be active in the art of loving those around us—and no matter how much we enjoy living our liberated college lives, our families deserve that love from us.