I think supporting family means being there through thick and then. Even if you’re at odds with a family member, or they are someone you wouldn’t normally associate with. Let’s say you have a family member who has an alcohol problem. Supporting family could mean helping wean that person off the bottle. This is something that takes strength, character building, and selflessness.
The most important thing about supporting your family is that it is unconditional. Many feel that when it really comes down to it, their family are the only people who they can count on for love and support. In its most authentic form, this love and support exists without “conditions” having to be met. This is life’s ultimate “safety net.”
This is a topic that is near and dear to the hearts of my readers, researchers, and website visitors. So much so that one of them were kind enough to share their own personal opinions. I don’t claim to be the best interviewer in the world, but I do promise some good, raw, and honest answers from normal people like you and me. I do my best to NOT filter these answers, except for the bad words and hateful speech.
With that little blurb out of the way, let’s dive right into the juicy bits of (potentially) life-changing insights.
Current Topic: Supporting Family
‘R’ = Richard N. Stephenson (me!)
‘I’ = Interviewee (anonymous by request unless otherwise noted)
[This interview is inspired and fueled by research done for my book: Staying Motivated at Work.]
R: Explain why this topic is important to people like you and me.
I: Having a supporting family means that you get to have a support cast backing you up when you’re going for long-term goals. If you didn’t have a supporting family, achieving said goals would be much more difficult because you would know that you’re attempting to achieve them by yourself. It also means you have a safety net to fall back on if you fail your goal.
R: How do you think this could change someone’s life?
I: Family is the most important part of a person. When a friend’s mother got cancer, it changed the entire family dynamic. She had always been the driving force behind family togetherness. My friend could have let family time go out the window when his mother wasn’t around to make sure that the family got together on a regular basis, but he thought it too important. His decision was life changing.
R: I think everyone wants to be a better person – can you tell us how this topic relates?
I: Supporting family helps build character. It might force someone to do something they wouldn’t normally do, but find success in that venture. For example, say someone just found out they were going to be a father. Previously they were working part-time at a fast food place. This might force our subject to start looking for a full-time job that pays better, or to start looking for an opportunity to invest in himself by going to school.
R: If you had to pick the “World’s Best” for this topic, who would it be?
I: A person who is good at supporting their family does so in a way that encourages their loved ones. Also, providing a safe and loving environment that allows for mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. Someone I know is kind, loving and supportive to not only his family, but to friends and total strangers. Due to this, he is considered trustworthy and many consider him a great person.
R: If you had to pick who’s the worst at this subject, who would it be?
I: My uncle on my father’s side is the worst at supporting family. He got into an argument with my dad over 20 years ago and still refuses to do anything involving our family. He will not visit at family reunions, answer phone calls, or even respond to Christmas cards. He may as well not exist, as far as the rest of the family is concerned.
R: How could the average person plan to bring this topic into the stuff they do on a daily basis?
I: Supportive family works as an added enforcement when you need an extra hand. I have a supportive family that tries to let me be independent but will occasionally step in when I need help. They support my decisions, especially the ones that will empower me.
R: How would you describe the best time to make this topic part of your life?
I: “Supporting a family” is something you must do when you have a family to support — whether that begins in your twenties, your thirties, forties, and so on. When there are children and young people relying upon you, you cannot and must not falter in your responsibilities to them.
Ideally, the time to support a family would come when you have completed your education and embarked upon a career that offers you a family-supporting wage. However, the ideal does not always happen. In the case of my own father, he dropped out of college to support my mom and me when I came along unexpectedly.
He drove a cab and did other non-professional jobs to keep food on the table for us (back in the 70s). He later went on to have a successful career as a construction manager. In his case, things did not go according to the ideal, but he did what was right and needful according to his responsibilities.
R: When do you think folks should absolutely NOT work on this topic?
I: I think having an argument with your spouse would be an inappropriate time to bring supporting family’ into your life. No matter how loving your family may be, if your spouse feels that you are not just arguing with her, but bringing your family into the disagreement, your spouse will feel ganged-up on. This will lead to a larger conflict and will make finding a resolution more difficult and bring more pain in the meantime.
R: Describe where you think most people could get better use out of this topic.
I: The best place would be through similar hobbies and interests that you can share together. Any hobby such as a sport, art, or craft that you are passionate about is a great place to share with your supporting family. You can enjoy your hobby with family that cares deeply about you and build even stronger relationships.
R: Tell us about the worst place to make this subject part of our lives.
I: To support a family in the car while driving seems to be something that would miss the point. To provide meaningful support to someone requires full attention, and that would be something that can’t be done while driving. Eye contact with the family might also be important to the support process. In all, driving in the car seems to be a poor choice for a location to support the family.
R: Describe the type of person who will get the most out of this?
I: Low-income people could use more help supporting family. When a person has limited means, it can be a challenge to make ends meet and support your family. This is true emotionally, as well as just with money. These people could use help financial planning, and organizing. There are organizations, both public and private, that can help these people. With help, they could better support their families.
R: What would you tell the readers to do if they wanted to get help with this topic soon?
I: They key to supporting anyone at all — family or otherwise — is to know how to set boundaries for yourself. Know what you are and are not willing to do to help. Giving more support than you are comfortable with doesn’t help anyone; on the contrary, it will drag you down and make you less supportive in the long run.
R: How would you describe the most dangerous thing about this subject?
I: Give them love, invite them for a meal, offer them more if they want to get clean, all good examples of ways to provide support for the family member. Be cautious of supporting anything that feeds their addiction. Giving them money or anything they can turn into money just feeds the addiction, and isn’t supporting them at all.
R: This topic is broad and the readers will need some focus. Can you help guide them along with an example of what to do next?
I: Turn off the electronic devices (TV, cell phones, computers) and give your family your full attention. Really listen to what they are saying. Ask questions and engage in the conversation. Too often people are passive listening while scrolling through their devices or watching TV. If you take the time to talk to your family you can find out what is truly going on in their life. It provides you with the opportunity to help and encouraging them in whatever struggles they are dealing with.
Thank you for reading this personal journey into becoming a better person and having a better future ahead of you. I hope you enjoyed this interview conversation and found golden nuggets you can immediately apply to your daily life.
If you want to get more productivity (and fulfillment!) out of your work, career, and life through being more motivated, then check out Staying Motivated at Work.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or personal life-changing wisdom below.