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Hoping for a bigger family in 2014

By Paul Viau | Jan 08, 2014
JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON — Embrace a larger sense of family and help us build a better world.

Unless you are a married couple having difficulty conceiving, or parents long-awaiting the joys of becoming grandparents  — wanting a bigger family seems just plain crazy.

Unless — as I am encouraging you today — you start off the new year by redefining family, as a concept that goes far beyond those inside your house — something beyond your walls and much bigger than your immediate clan-destine activities.

Think globally. Think spiritually. Think about the family of man — which includes hundreds of millions of men, women and children who desperately need the loving, caring, nurturing, forgiving and wonderfully empowering experience of family.

Think, also about expanding your concept of family to include all of God’s creatures  — including dogs, cats, birds and yes, even squirrels.

I know this column doesn’t exactly follow last week’s diatribe about the Duck Dynasty. And, no, I didn’t just watch an old Coca Cola commercial with children singing, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”

I think the arrival of 2014 and the sobering reality of my own mortality has opened my eyes to the incredible imbalance in the world.

Today there are so many people who are alone and poor — so many people struggling daily, just to find a few scraps of foods to survive.

And in stark contrast, are growing number of people with so much more than they need — wealthy beyond their wildest dreams — yet reluctant to share beyond the confines of their shallow concept of “family.”

Of course, there are many people blessed with wealth who gladly open their hearts and their wallets to needy causes. I am privileged to know many right here in Haywood County.

Still, 2014 finds our world and our society very imbalanced, with a stark contrast between what sociologists call the “haves” and “have-nots.” At the far extremes are the greedy and the needy. And there is a huge gulf dividing them.

I’d like to bridge that gulf and see the poor climb out of poverty, and more of us open our eyes (and wallets) and embrace a global family.

So I am asking you to ask yourselves, “What does family mean to you?”

Is it a group where all are accepted — where all can be as they are — and no one is judged?

If you have that kind of blessed family experience, then I’d like to ask you to be more inclusive — not exclusive.

I am asking you to open your hearts and minds, widen your “family” to accept more people — embrace more people day by day, and week by week.

Together we can make our world a better place for all.

Happy New Year.