What if... June 25 2007

Mama Peggy and ColeHave you ever sat down and thought about what defines a family? I mean really put some serious thought into it? Certainly family can be defined as a group of people born into a family unit, united by genetics. What if you could expand your definition of family to include those close, special friends who you love as much as your "official" family? Or, perhaps, could you define your family more simply as: "everyone"? During May my official family of 4 (my husband, our two boys and I) had the opportunity to explore our own definition of family. During this time we hosted two people from Mamelodi, South Africa, in our home. Mama Peggy and Mighty, both members of the Beaded Hope team, helped us redefine family. Throughout their stay, Mama Peggy, Mighty, Cole (my 5-year-old son) and I spent a great deal of time together shuttling from one event to another. One day, while shuttling to yet another event, Cole announced, with total and unwavering conviction, that "our family now had 6 people in it", instantly moving Mama Peggy and Mighty into our "official" family category. As a mother, I will never forget the moment that my son opened his heart, and our family, to include two new members. I couldn't be more proud. As a white middle-class American, I can only wonder what this moment might mean to two black South African women who have lived most of their life under apartheid. As a person, I can't help but imagine what the world would be like if we all looked at it through the eyes of a 5-year-old. What if... we all opened our homes to people as if they were already family. What if... language, culture, distance, skin color and all of that other "stuff" just didn't matter. What if... we were all as wise as a 5-year-old.