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  • Ken Clark

How to Thank Family or Those Who Are Just Like Family


Our family, the ones that matter to our hearts, is filled with the people that our world would not be the same without. Who they’ve been in our past has shaped, for the better, who we are in the present. They’re the ones who we build our futures around through our efforts in the present. They are the gravitational center of our universes and the answer to who we are. At the end of the day, family is the breath we breath. They, above all else, define us. They are the ones who we decide moments are incomplete without.

For many of us, some or all of these folks didn’t swim in the same gene pool as us. They prove to us that DNA doesn’t define family as much as choices, actions and commitment. They’re often strangers that came into our worlds, stayed in our lives, invested in who we are, claimed us when no one else would and stood by us in ways that boggle the mind.

Family, whether born or discovered, is what everyone talks about in the sunset years of their life. It’s at ground zero of their bucket list, it’s what they try to repair on my therapy couch, it’s who they reach for when the world changes in big ways and it’s where we leave our legacy of love and enjoyment in an otherwise short life.

Saying The Words To Those Who Already Know

The great thing about family is they already know how much you care about them. They know that when you’re tense or distracted, it’s not personal. They know that you love them even though you can go years without saying the words. They know, because of who you’ve been for each other and what you’ve been through together, that your status as family is unarguable.

Because of that, it’s so easy to miss out on one of life’s great opportunities… saying “I love you, I need you and it wouldn’t be the same without you” to the safest people you’ll ever say it to. The risk of rejection compared to every other relationship is so infinitesimally low, that it amazes me that people don’t say it ALL THE TIME to those that they consider family.

Missing the opportunity to declare, maybe on a daily basis, how glad you are to have these people in your life is like having a classic car in the garage that you never drive. It’s like having a gift certificate for your favorite restaurant that is never going to get used. It’s like getting a beautifully wrapped present from someone and not opening it right there on the spot.

Life has an expiration date. It goes quick and when it's drawing to a close, no one surrounds themselves with their bank statements and trophies. They all ask for family. Why wait until then to say what can be said now? Why say it only today after reading this? How would your world change if you made it your mission to make sure that more days than not, those that you call family saw evidence of how much you enjoyed them?

Do it. Right now. Go give your partner a hug. Send your sibling a text. Call that person that always had room at their table until you had a table and family of your own and tell them how much it mattered. Then do it again tomorrow. Life is short and letting someone know that they are family to you and thanking them for who they are in your world will bring as much peace to your soul as just about anything else you’ll ever read at the Thanks A Billion Project.

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