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Choosing Your Family

The Conversation: Choosing Your Family

This past weekend of teacher training was all about having tough conversations with someone you’re deeply conflicted with. While I can’t divulge details because we seal our confidentiality to each other with a blood oath (hashtag cult life), a lot of those conversations revolved around immediate family members.

There’s a common saying, “you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.” It’s arguably derived from the book To Kill a Mockingbird and the passage goes on to say you look “right silly” when you don’t acknowledge your kin. I’m going to loudly disagree with that. Just because someone is related to you by blood does not give them carte blanche access to your life.

I’m not talking about minor disagreements, or blow-ups where both parties are, to some degree, at fault. I’m talking about when you have exhausted all possibilities, laid down your swords, and the other person is still swinging.

It’s not always easy to break ties with people, especially those you “should” try to reconcile with, no matter what the emotional cost. But not everyone is good. Not everyone deserves a second chance. There are some actions that are downright unforgivable. You don’t need anyone’s permission to walk away from a dark situation that likely cannot be resolved, but I hope this makes you think about what you’re forcing yourself to hang onto.

The connections I saw forged this weekend between people who were strangers last week? They went far beyond the lines of friendship. The tears shed, the laughs, the hugs—those were among FAMILY.


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