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By Erianne Thedorf

Family life is unique in each home. No two families have exactly the same people. Because of this, everyone has different experiences going home. Some cases involve coming home to an annoying little sibling, a “too cool” older sibling or nagging parents. In the more extreme cases, some people go home to an alcoholic, an abuser or even a mentally ill family member. Everyone’s experiences are different, but the amount of stress that family members can put on each other can be the same throughout all different shapes and sizes of families.

All of my life I have been looking toward the future. The only reason I used to think this way is because I couldn’t wait to get out of the house and into college. I didn’t want to hear the constant nagging from my parents about grades, chores or every other little detail in my life. I will admit that there have been a couple of occasions where I have reacted negatively to my parents for being who they are, but I’ve learned to act differently. If we respond to our family members’ actions in negative ways now, it can become a habit and that negativity might even lead on to our later families in the future. How we act to our sibling might rub off onto our college roommate, and how we react to our parents will not be acceptable to our future bosses. You might not think this, but how you respond toward your family now will affect you in the future.

To prevent a bad future from forming as well as bad habits, we must learn to do three things daily:

1. Treat people well. This includes everyone you know, and family is included! Treating people well in general will benefit you in the greatest way possible. So many relationships can prosper and be created from just treating other people well.

2. React kindly. I know it may be hard to do, especially when someone isn’t treating you the way you would like, but even Luke 6:31 says “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” It may seem like one of the hardest things you can do, but know that not only is it going to help you in the future, but it’s also making you a better person inside and out.

3. Believe in God’s purpose. Listen to Jeremiah 29:11 as it states, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.” Live day by day knowing that God has a purpose for you, and you should believe firmly in that.

God has plans and a future set up for you, but you just have to know how to deal with your family now, so you don’t have problems in the future. I can personally say that I am no longer counting down the days till college, but focusing on the now, spending time with my family.

ErianneErianne is a Junior at Grayslake North High School. She enjoys books, movies, music and meeting new people!

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