I love my family - most of them, most of the time, anyway. (And they, of course, love me, and all of my snarky loveliness.)
But there are some things that they have taught me that are so magically wonderful, I cannot help but feel like I would not be who I am without them. Which, in all fairness, is likely true.
Here are two of the best things that my family taught me, both by example, and non-example.
#1: You will always have priorities in your life, so it is best if you decide what they should be.
I don't know how many people know this. Of course, I really only recognize it more as a parent myself, but when I was growing up, I had priorities. And, shocker, other people had priorities for me.
I saw this more in college, too. My one professor didn't care (much - they were all, except for a select few) that I had big exam in another class. Each professor thought that their class should come first.
I had to decide between studying for my literature quizzes or working to pass my teacher education courses (literature won.)
Now that I'm an adult and literally no teacher has any say in my life, and very few people have demands of me, I get to decide what I need to do, and then I have to do it.
I've embraced this as part of my quarter-life crisis crusade for minimalism.
My parents always had a lot going on. We would rush around from school and work to dinner and then usually to something else, whether it was church or garbage night or sports or the gym or something else (there wasn't a lot of "something else," but still weird things would pop up from time to time). Things moved from season to season this way, really only interrupted by a week of changing over plans as sport seasons came to an end, after school activities started up, or it was vacation time.
So my priorities, now as a writer and mother and wife and yes, Christian, have been simplified. I like that. I have five big priorities in my life at the moment, and I'm happy to say that it's manageable. I get to choose them, and I have to work to fulfill them. (That's the harder part once you realize what the priorities are.)
#2. Love God, love others, and love books.
In one of my favorite lines from my work, I have a character that says he's found love and magic in serving God and reading books. Read a lot of books. A lot. Movies that are better than the book are few and far inbetween, and most of those are fairy tales.
I'm going to focus on the last part: Love books.
I have a cousin on my mom's side who still buys books - the physical, paper copies. As a writer, I love her, because she usually reads my stuff, and I like that, since it's always nice to have readers. She is also a retired English teacher, so she can tell me if my writing is good or not (I laugh because I know she's not big on YA stuff). She buys the paperback copies, or even the hardback editions. If she likes the book, she'll buy the ebook version, and then she'll donate the physical copy to her library so other people can read it, too.
I wish more people in the world were like that still. I never thought about how libraries will often give their duplicates away to other places or charities that ask for books, or they can use them to raise money by selling them.
I do think it's important to support libraries, so I never thought of doing that until my cousin said so. That's part of the reason when you buy my books on Amazon, you can always download the ebook version for free. So if you like the book, you can donate the physical copy of the book to your library, and you'll have the ebook version to reread whenever you want to revisit my stories.
I cannot encourage authors and readers enough to follow that example.
So it's pretty easy to see why I love my family. My family has made me a better person, and I have to admit, I need all the help I can get some days.