Since this website is, after all, called Family Bridge, I figured I should take some time and address on of the most important communities that surround us: family. I was recently helping a friend of mine who is engaged look for DFW wedding venues. She explained to me how stressed she was about all the details, planning, and getting everything done before the big day. When I asked if her family was being helpful at all, I thought she was going to begin crying. She could barely get out the words about how supportive her family was in every decision she made and was constantly encouraging her to make it her day and not worry about what others think. I was in awe. For many families, a wedding can make or break them. Unfortunately, it tends to be the latter more often than not. This is the group of people you are raised around, spent your childhood with or have an intimate bond with. I believe there are all different types of families and that the family bond manifests itself in many diverse ways. For me, my family consists of the four people I am closest to and would do anything for; my mom, dad, sister and brother. I completely understand that not everyone has this. Some people only have one parent, or no siblings, or maybe even no parents. But for many people, blood ties can be the strongest. It breaks my heart when I see families in dispute, especially if the cause is trite or petty. That is a relationship that I hope lasts as long as we are all living.

Another form of family community that I have also experienced, can be one or two (maybe more) close friends. I have one friend in particular who adopts our last name when she is over at our house and even goes so far as to call my mother, “Mom”. She lets herself in our front door and helps herself to our food and is completely comfortable engaging with any of my family members.This may sound like she is being rude, but I promise it just means we are family. Family involves trust, loyalty, and love. All of these ingredients together constitutes family, and without even one of them, the true essence of family cannot exist. In the case of my friend and my family itself, I trust, respect, love and would do anything for any of them.

The last type of family that comes to mind is a bond between a certain group of people like a team or a church. These bonds can come from a common interest bringing people who wouldn’t ordinarily be friends or family, and uniting them with a common goal. For me, being on a team meant becoming a family. If we could not work together effectively, we would not achieve our ultimate goal of winning. We spent nearly four months with each other almost everyday. We did not always like each other all the time, but when the season ended and we came out on the other side, we had a bond that was deeper than friendship. We were a family. You do not spend that much time with the same people and not get to know them so intimately and thoroughly. Friendship can be forged through time and hard work.

I would venture to say that almost everyone has a family, regardless of the category it falls under. Treasure these relationships. Harbor them and preserve them. I love knowing that whatever happens, I have people around me who genuinely care about me and will catch me if I fall. Living in this type of community where everyone cares about each other is utterly blissful. How we treat each other plays a huge factor in family.Do not take any relationship for granted and know that if you want any relationship, friendship, companionship, even acquaintanceship to work, you have to take the effort to show people you care. After all, the saying goes: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. And this applies very realistically to family and to community.

Let’s take a trip around the world! One thing that I would do if I had an unlimited supply of time and money is travel. People and cultures fascinate me and I find myself wanting to know everything I possibly can about different regions of the world. It fascinates me how similar humans are to each other physically, yet so drastically different culturally. In recent times, traveling to different countries is so simple. One can easily purchase a plane ticket, go online or call to book a hotel and then just rent a car to transport oneself around once in the foreign country. Many people do not even think about how people one hundred years ago would have traveled. Mostly they didn’t. People usually did not travel around for vacation due to the extensive time it took and also the danger. If you lived in the United States and wanted to travel to France for a vacation, you would have to take a boat or ship and if you lived a really long time ago, that journey was not safe. The voyage across the Atlantic was usually just not worth the risk. Today we are extremely luck that we do not have to deal with diseased ships laden with sickness and rats! Our transportation situation allows our world to be more intimately connected than ever before. Instead of taking weeks or months to cross the ocean on a ship, we could jump on a plane and travel from America to Paris in around nine hours! How incredible! Although money can be an issue sometimes, we are so lucky that we can travel around with relative ease. We have an opportunity before us to increase our awareness of the world around us, to be people of incredible knowledge and experience. The opportunities before us are infinite.

Personally, I would love to travel and meet new people and experience different cultures and traditions. I desire to have an open mind to the world around me and leave behind blindness and bias to where I am from. One place in particular I would like to visit is Paris, France. This is a place that is the epitome of intense, concentrated culture and atmosphere. It is a city full of museums and food and drink and anything that you could ever want to experience in France, can just about be found in Paris.

Before we begin to think globally, we should also expand our community awareness to include the country we currently reside in. Local community comes first and then national community. It is necessary to begin engagement in this order to reach full potential of civic engagement. If we are aware globally and have no care whatsoever for anyone on a local level, it will be very difficult to make a difference while blind to what is happening around you. As far as national community awareness goes, you should remain knowledgable about what is happening in your country. This means VOTE if you have that opportunity. This is the clearest, easiest way to become involved in your national community! You have the opportunity to share what you believe and take control of how your country is run! This power has been given to you. I suggest you use it. Don’t take anything for granted. Get involved locally and get involved nationally.

Welcome to my new website, Family Bridge! This is your one-stop look at life in an interconnected global society. My aim is to bridge the gap across different countries and ethnic groups to uncover the truth that we really are all family, living in one world. It has occurred to me recently that with the development of technology, our world is growing smaller and smaller. We can no longer afford to live in our own little bubble that consists of school, work, and home. With worldwide news and our access to the internet, it becomes harder, and harder if not impossible to ignore global incidents and affairs. It’s almost to the point that no matter where you live, you’re access to television, internet and radio is frequent if not unlimited. This “global family” as I like to call it has become something of a passion of mine since I started some college courses on global affairs. I would love to share some unique insights and thoughts I have about how we as individuals can remain engaged in our surroundings, beginning with our own local communities and eventually branching out to our global community. I have been made aware recently of how our little cellular devices can be very destructive. Think about it. How long has it been since you checked your cell phone? Thirty seconds? One minute? Are you on it right now? Once you notice how frequently people spend their time on their phone, you will not be able to forget. Step one in engaging in your local community is looking up every once in a while. Engage in meaningful conversations with others, get involved in groups in the community that have interests similar to yours, and get away from screens every so often. I don’t know about you, but my family had a strict no phones at the dinner table policy. This “forced” us into conversation and helped us become genuinely curious, concerned and invested in each other’s lives. I went to a friend’s house a few months back for dinner and my experience there reaffirmed for me why the phones should be used in greater moderation. I was sitting at a table with five other people, and I am completely serious when I say that it was so silent you could here a pin drop on the floor. It was uncomfortable and disheartening to se people on Facebook and Instagram rather than conversing with each other. Overcoming this habit of hiding behind our devices is the first step in reinforcing our local identity as a connected community.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me when I say that phone use needs to decrease. I do NOT think that phones are evil. I think that they are a tool. The user is the one who decides whether the phone is destructive or constructive. One one hand, mobile devices (as well as computers and televisions) can permanently damage relationships and also people’s social skills and ability to converse with others. On the other hand, the internet connects us with people all around the world. We have access to global news, people in other countries, loved ones across the seas, and current events. The pendulum can swing both ways. The questions really is, what are you doing to increase the strength of the relationships in your local community? Are you hurting or helping?