Who Is Your Family?

Relatives Versus Family

familyβ€œThere is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.” C. JoyBell C.

Whether you agree with her or have some other opinion about the make-up of family, what stands out for me in C. Joybell C’s words is that “families are made in the heart.”

This week that is coming to a close has been a trying one for many families around the world. The events in France, Lebanon, and now this morning as I write in Mali, have many thinking about family and what it would be to them should they be touched by the violence we are witnessing.

Family Ties That Bind

Family has been a problematic area of my life and not due to terrorist activities, granted one might describe the impact and damage of the emotional attacks as similar in their effects.

Purveyors of truth or negativity?

For almost three years, my interaction with television newscasts and even with newspapers was almost none. A break was needed to allow me the space to centre my thoughts and limit the barrage of negativity that these news reports are notorious for delivering. This deliberate disconnection really helped my grounding in what for me is the truth of life – that Love is the only power in the world, the one that can transform any form of evil into good.

My small and growing family also helped me comfortably return to some amount of news watching. With the arrival of my granddaughter and her regular visits and sometimes sleepover at my place, it became necessary to have various forms of entertainment. Late last year, things escalated as my family members were coming to stay a couple of weeks with me. So I purchased a big screen television and had cable installed. Ever since, gradually I started watching news programmes again but not to the same degree and certainly not getting involved as I once did with any given story.

parisHowever, when news broke of the attacks in Paris, it was hard for me not to follow closely the unfolding. My family was the first thought to mind as I viewed the havoc other people’s family members had created. Even so, the difference now with my viewing of the news is that no longer do I allow the news establishment to force feed me with a particular perspective. As they saying goes, I go beyond the news to find what makes sense to me, seeking the heart of the issue playing out on the screen.

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Best of The Week

Family, love, compassion and purpose were my conclusions and as always it translated in the posts of this week. Our most read, “My Daughter’s Journey With Prematurity,” tells the story of two mothers’ love for an unborn child and their unity of purpose as they ‘fought’ to make sure that child would come into this world and hopefully make a difference. If you missed that post you can read it here and share your thoughts on the hidden theme of healing family ties and how some medical professionals are supporting that every day on neo-natal intensive care units around the world.

The second most read post of our concluding week was “Emptiness: Sign of Emotional Trauma,” and it too tells the story of family and the impact they have on the children within their folds. It is my contribution to our series on Emptiness that will wrap up with an article from Katelyn Roth in the coming week or so. Many of us, including those who are now perpetuating violence across the world, are suffering from unhealed emotional issues, a lack of love and misguided understanding of purpose. Cloaked in religious, ideological, political rhetoric or even having superficial ideals borrowed from celebrities and reality shows, they are causing harm to others. The greater harm, however, is to themselves granted as they tout their weapons be that guns, words or debauchery they do not see it that way.

emptinessIn my experience of emptiness that lasted for many years, unless you had expert eyes and a compassionate heart you would have written off my behaviour simply as meanness and aggression (that of ‘the angry black woman’). Read that post and as with the other, check between the lines for the story about family and how the absence of loving ones in a person’s life can negatively affect their experience of the world. [tweetthis]Check out these great blog post on family, emptiness and Pakistan![/tweetthis]

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The most perplexing, for some, post of this week was the one directly about family and how children are raised within them. Some readers missed the point, but thankfully most did not, which was – this world is a multicultural one, varied in its forms of expression, including the family and how they choose to love and raise their children.

The unfolding of terror now, a cowardly one let me quickly add, is partly a result of our inability to allow people to live their lives as they see best. We have successfully divided the world into “Us” and “Everybody Else” or “those people.”Β  The “Us” of the world have pitted “those people” who are in fact fully part of the human family against each other and in turn the rest of the world. This is something that we have grown better at doing having had centuries of practice. In her piece on “Raising Children In Pakistan Today,” Neelma Tashfeen shed some light on the historical context and development of family in her homeland. Some visitors chose to see that as an opportunity to label those lived experiences and chosen way of life in unpleasant ways. Have a read of Neelma’s post and see whether you can look beyond the differences in one culture’s way of being family and identify what makes us One.

Next Week

Contributor, Claudette P. Esterine
Robert Turner

Robert Turner returns to us next week and along with Alexis Ali, will share their thoughts on Thanksgiving as our family in the United States set to celebrate the occasion. Check out Robert’s most recent post here and be sure to join us next week for his latest.

As always, please feel free to share this and any of our other posts with your friends. Have you subscribed yet? I invite you to join this family and as a Subscriber you will not only get a daily email update of post but my monthly FREE newsletter and affirmation poster. Sign up today!

We look forward to sharing more conversations with you next week. Until such time, do follow me on Twitter as well as like my Facebook Page. You can also stay in touch through Claudette P. Esterine Weekly, which is my online newspaper that is published every Sunday. Check it out here.

Be blessed and be a blessing this weekend to your family, friends and the strangers/angels you meet along the way.


Claudette P. Esterine



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59 thoughts on “Who Is Your Family?

  1. […] are made in the heart,” not in the minds or in the quantity of stuff your money can buy. Check out that article and share your thoughts with me on that basic theme in the comments below it or […]

  2. In my case my friends have been there more than family. I had a very bad incident with a close family member so I know that blood does not mean family.

    1. Ms Claudette

      We are in the same boat and the key is to realise the situation you are in and find the best way to move and grow through it. πŸ™‚

  3. No matter what happen, blood is thicker than water. Family is always family.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Well, that is not true for everyone. People may be related by blood, in my books, that does not make them family. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Namaste

  4. I absolutely love the message for family… It’s so touching!!!!

    1. Ms Claudette

      I am glad that you like the message! Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  5. Holly

    I really like your distinction between relatives and family. I have always had a hard time explaining my lack of relationship with some of my relatives to people who weren’t around me through that time in my life, but I have grown to realize that the people around me now are my family, and they are the only family I need. It’s a powerful realization.

    1. Ms Claudette

      It is indeed a power-filled realization! What I have also come to learn is that there is no need to explain to anyone as they will not understand. All the best my dear. πŸ™‚

  6. Many times there are some good friends who treat you way better than blood relatives. Blood does not necessarily mean closeness or even love. I have come to realize that sometimes the hard way, so these days I just don’t allow it to bother me at all. I take comfort in the fact that family can come from anywhere and just roll with the punches.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I learned this the hard and long way! That perspective of yours is the best way to find peace. Thanks for sharing it. πŸ™‚

      1. Believe me..it is a hard reality to come to but we must look at it for our sanity and peace of mind. Families sometimes can be so disgusting (I was searching for a better word…lol)…Many will only draw near to you when you can give and give and give but the minute you draw back all hell breaks loose…BUT!

  7. CourtneyLynne

    Ahhhhhhh family can be the harshest of people in your life. I wish my family was a tad bit nicer ;-)!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Courtney, as I read these comments it really came home to me how many have had this experience of blood behaving badly! πŸ™

  8. I can see how it would have been really difficult not to watch the Paris aftermath. The world is watching closely, I think.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, the world is indeed watching what is going on across all shores. It has not been a pretty picture but we continue to hold out hope for a return to kindness. πŸ™‚

  9. Because... I'm cheap

    I agree. I’m blessed though that my family is both related and not related πŸ™‚

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are extremely fortunate! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  10. There is such a huge difference between relatives and family at times. Thankfully, most of mine are truly family. However, there are some friends that we consider just as close as siblings. Family is there of you in the good and bad times.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, we hall have lots of those. Thank you so much for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  11. Amazing post dear! You have a wonderful blog:)
    What about following each other on Instagram, Bloglovin, Twitter?.. πŸ™‚


    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you very much. I am not active on any of the mentioned social media, except Twitter. You can find me there at @DOSFoundation πŸ™‚

  12. Such a great post and so true. So grateful for the real family in my life.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you very much and thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  13. What happened to Paris is really heartbreaking. You can’t help but feel scared for your family, too.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, it is sad what is going on all over the world in the name of gods. Such a pity. πŸ™

  14. I think family often treats people worse than strangers. They seem to think that being family gives them some sort of “be rude” pass.

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are so right! Sad but true! Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  15. I believe there is a big difference between relatives and family. Family is always there for us

  16. Family is not connected by their blooded, but a heart.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yup, that is what the opening quote truly means. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  17. To me my friends are my family and have stood by me through thick and thin when my biological parents have done nothing and that’s ok because you don’t need to be related to be considered as family

    1. Ms Claudette

      No you don’t and when you have lived as long as I have with only relatives and mostly friends who became family you get that fully and move on. Thanks for dropping by. πŸ™‚

  18. I agree with you, family is being made from heart no matter what.

    1. Ms Claudette

      They most certainly are. πŸ™‚

  19. I never thought about the difference between family and relatives. It does put things in perspective.

    1. Ms Claudette

      It most certainly does. When it was first said to me, it really helps.

  20. I totally agree- families are in the heart in my opinion. We were going to adopt a few years ago and my in-laws told us out right that they would not love that child the same way. It broke my heart

    1. Ms Claudette

      That must have been so distressing. People do say the strangest things don’t they?! πŸ™‚

  21. It’s so true family is made from the heart. I have more people that I consider family that aren’t blood related than I do actual blood!

    1. Ms Claudette

      We are in the same boat! πŸ™‚

  22. victoria

    I absolutely love the message for family it was touching and comes from the heart.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you very much Victoria! L)

  23. I have chosen friends and only some blood family members – only love and kindness belong with me and those around me –
    So glad that you’ve written such a touching post – hugs πŸ™‚

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you very much Donna for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Hugs right back at you! πŸ™‚

  24. I’ve always been very blessed to be close with my family and enjoy their support and love.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, you are truly blessed! πŸ™‚

  25. I really enjoy the way you write about such intense topics Claudette. You make them more approachable and give us a good understanding about issues around the world. Thank you for that!

    1. Ms Claudette

      And thank you Shaylee for your visits! πŸ™‚

  26. i’m not sure if my comment went through or not so i’ll do another one. family is who loves & supports us regardless of whether or not they share blood

    1. Ms Claudette

      That is my view as well Michelle! Thanks for stopping by again! πŸ™‚

  27. Elizabeth O.

    I really love the message about a family being made from the heart. It’s true, there’s no such thing as a broken family, it’s always going to be up to you. Thanks for the great stories this week. It has really touched my heart.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you Elizabeth for continuing to visit! πŸ™‚

  28. You tackled a difficult subject with grace and class, thank you for that! I think our interactions with our family (blood or not) have a lot to do with perspective, too!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, you are so right that perspective is everything! Thank you so much for your compliment as well as for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  29. Family are the ones that love you no matter what. They share the good and the bad times.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Those who have that are blessed. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  30. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I agree, there is a big difference between relatives and family sometimes.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Indeed there is! Thanks for stopping by.

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