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Finding the Family You Need

By Charlotte Riddell, Grade 11
This summer, I received a letter letting me know that for the upcoming school year, I would be a prefect in Colby House. To be completely honest, the idea of being in the younger girls residence did not appeal to me at all.

As some of you may know, I have five younger siblings, two of whom are here at Stanstead. Being in a big family obviously comes with its up and downs. The house is always full of energy but it is much harder to get alone time. By being a prefect in Colby, this meant that not only would I keep the big sister role at home but also take it on at school as a prefect. It meant that I wouldn’t be with the girls in my grade and many of my friends.

Now of course you all know we don’t get to choose family, whether it is our blood-related family or an extended family. Trust me, I wouldn’t choose to be related to Joe and Gloria but maybe Chi-Chi. I didn’t choose to be in Colby, but it led to me discovering a new family. I do not know about everyone, but I immensely value family as a part of my life. Not to sound cliché, but family does play an important role in our lives. I believe family is what shapes us. Family shows us how to love. From a very young age, our parents continuously instill in us manners and morals which are important to them. Morals such as respect, honesty and kindness. Family teaches us to do these things, and to live together, as a society.

Just think about it for a second. Without this essential part of our lives, how would we learn to live in harmony? It is our first experience of life as a society where we learn to adapt, conciliate and forgive. Lessons like these are crucial. They allow us to develop as a person. For example, and you can trust me on this, sharing a bathroom with siblings really does show us the true meaning of patience. You may not realize it, but Joe puts much time and care into his hair.

Life brought me a new meaning of family this year: the Colby girls. Although, I did not get to make this choice, it is with a positive mindset that I was able to embrace Colby and realize that some things do happen for a reason. Life will present us with challenges, some of which we cannot control. For me, it meant being in a different residence, but for others it may be a roommate you aren’t particularly close to or for some perhaps not having the best of lunch tables. However, we must all learn to embrace these contrarieties with open minds and positive attitudes. Sometimes, what we want for ourselves isn’t what will benefit us the most. Nor is it what will benefit other people. It’s the unexpected things in life that allow us to better ourselves.

Although I may have been disappointed at the start of the year to not be living with my friends, I am close to many girls I maybe wouldn’t have met or would not have taken the initiative to know otherwise. From this came many relationships I greatly cherish and value. Sometimes, things happen in ways you aren’t expecting, but it turns out to be even better than you could have imagined. Or to quote the Rolling Stones, “You can't always get what you want/ but if you try sometime you find/you get what you need.” If we could choose family, not only would I keep the family I have, but it would grow exponentially because of all the new younger sisters I would have and two older sisters/mom/friends also known as Miss B and Miss Norris.

We don’t get to choose family; life grants us the family we need.