Back in 2009, as a family, we were blessed to have everyone together. It will stand out in my memory as one of the most wonderful “memory creating” times of my life. Just having all of you together was a feat in itself. Living in our fast paced world and knowing that each of you have different priorities makes it that much more valuable to me. We were able to preserve those few days together and make that time count for each other in a number of different ways. Over the next few days I will be asking you to recall some of the reasons why it was so special.
First was the fact that we had our dear friend Lauri Burningham take pictures of the family on the beach. Yes, we preserved those memories visibly. Without a doubt those pictures are some of the best that were ever taken of our family. They always stir my emotions and heighten my senses when I see each of you. I always seem to get lost in your lives as I move from person to person – remembering everything from changing your diapers and first days at school to graduations and times of celebration. While a snapshot in time, they are pictures of you, part of your history and the fact that you valued each other enough to make the time to invest in each other.
What I remember most about that time was our group efforts to refine and develop our family values. Years ago I gave each of you our genealogical records dating back to 600 A. D. Those documents told of our heritage, but not of who we are as a family who ate together, laughed together and lived together, even if it was briefly. I wanted to capture who we were as a people. I wanted us all to agree on what our minds and hearts shared together and that will be part of our legacy. While some of you were married and had kids, the majority did not and my hope was that as adults we could create something that you might want to pass on to your children and integrate into their lives. Hopefully, when they were old enough to understand, you would share with them what was important to us as a family.
So today we will start with the first of the three areas we addressed: Family Values. Here they are as a reminder:
- To love each other unconditionally
- To be open-minded, considerate, cooperate and supportive of our diverse family
- To respect position and honor others daily
- To live a life of faith and morality
- To remain hospitable and friendly regardless of where life finds us
- To communicate openly and honestly, not just with family but all we meet
- To practice patience, tolerance
- To maintain a spirit of forgiveness and compassion
- To maintain a humble nature
- To encourage and participate in the growth and development of family members and others
- To display courage daily
While I know that they challenge us, they must remain in the forefront of our minds as we “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8b. May they remind you of our agreement and commitment to each other and the remainder of the family of God.