Can you imagine being part of a family that always has your back, no matter what? Regardless of what you do, how you feel, what you think, or even amid fights and disagreements, you know your siblings will step up no matter what happens, no matter what time. Isn’t that what having brothers and sisters is about?
So what happens when you’re a young adult male? I’ve raised two, and let me tell you, there are moments during those post-teen years where you wonder when your son suddenly went braindead. He’s walking and talking with a head full of steam, saying the first thing that comes to his mind, though you know very well that years down the road, he’ll wish he could take back some of the really stupid things that came barreling out of his mouth, unchecked.
Come to think of it, it’s not just young men, really. It’s all of us. Remember some of the things you said and did at that youthful age? How many are cringing now, wishing we could all have a do-over? But, you know, if you look back on all those youthful mistakes and the wisdom you have now, didn’t those years make you a better person?
Look at the challenges we’re facing right now. In these difficult times of COVID, with business challenges, personal challenges, and the political environment, everything seems to be converging and piling up, and for some, it has become too much to handle. Even little problems may seem big and explosive. But what if you didn’t let it overwhelm you? Instead, look at these challenges as an opportunity to change something that wasn’t really working to begin with. When something is built on a shaky foundation, taking a band-aid approach often results in the structure falling apart completely when disaster strikes. Right now, so many problems are creeping out, but now is the time to fix that problem spot and actually make it better.
They say this kind of wisdom comes with experience and age, but that’s not always true. Anyone can be in a good place, a happy place, when things are going your way—when the weather is perfect, the environment is perfect, and the economy’s rolling. Everything is perfect in your mind, in your world, when you’re not under the kinds of restrictions many are under now. But what happens when things aren’t going your way? If you can keep your head in the game and stay in a happy, positive state even then, when bad things happen, like these challenging times for some, what happens is that bad things roll off you, and it becomes easy for you to find solutions to a problem.
The O’Connells are a fictional Montana family, and the loyalty of the siblings having each other’s backs is a running theme in the series. Brady Baker, the youngest sibling, shares a father with his four older brothers and two sisters. When he learned that his entire life and the persona his father created were a lie, how well did he handle it? It rocked his world to learn that he had siblings, another family, and he had lived a lie his entire life, believing his father to be someone he wasn’t. It took him some time to really believe he had a family now, a family who had his back.
On his nineteenth birthday, he receives the loyalty lowdown from his older brothers. They remember being in that nineteen to twenty-two age group—during which, as I mentioned, young men say the first things that come to their minds. His brothers’ gift to him was wisdom, telling him to think before he speaks and dial back his emotion, the wave of hot-headedness, so that years later, he won’t have to live with regrets. They tell him what it means to be an O’Connell, to be a good brother, and that family always has each other’s backs. When they get in a jam, in trouble, or even arrested, they can call each other anytime, anywhere, and they’ll be there.
Is it perfect? Not at all. Brady quickly learns that his grown siblings come with their own colored pasts, and it’s a wonder the O’Connells are functioning, somewhat normal members of society today. Marcus, who is now the sheriff, led a life of youthful crime alongside Ryan, and Luke used to disappear for days on end. Meanwhile, Owen, the eldest brother, carried everyone’s secrets. At the same time, they teach Brady that the key to success in anything is failure. Really! If you made a mistake yesterday, you won’t make that same mistake today. Having that family loyalty, the O’Connells know that when they mess up, their siblings won’t toss it in their face, put them down, criticize them, or use it against them down the road. That’s the kind of support everyone wants and should have, so when challenges crop up, you know you’ve got a sounding board and the support you need to fix things.
The truth is that we’re in tough times—if you allow them to be. While many are truly prospering, many are struggling. I’ve said this to my kids time and again: Raise your standards! We should never feel as if we’re on the ground with someone’s boot on our neck, holding us down, yet many of us are feeling this way right now. Sometimes, we need to check in with family, who have our back and can give us a different, positive perspective we need to make a different choice, to take the kind of action that can make something better in our lives. Even now, that can mean the difference between feeling completely overwhelmed and finding another way to fix a problem so that the challenges you may be facing become just a bump in the road.
This goes for anything out there: If the foundation is strong, your problems will just roll off.
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