At almost every family get together, our family has this tradition of standing around in a circle, thanking everyone for coming (usually get-togethers are at my parents house so they are the ones to do that) and depending on the occasion, having different relatives share their gratitude or thoughts. I do believe that this "tradition" started with my grandparents and how they grew up.
Both grandma and grandpa on my mom's side grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii in a small plantation village called Papaaloa. Grandma owned her own business as a barber and grandpa worked at the sugar mill for many years until retirement. They raised four kids, attended Buddhist temple services regularly and kept their family and its values at the heart of it all. My mom used to share stories with me of the board games they would play at night, the camping trips that they would go on, and the rivers they would swim in (yikes). And through her upbringing, she learned how important her family was.
At every gathering grandpa would always say, "Be kind to one another and stay together." Those words are so simple, yet bare so much truth. Of course no family is perfect and every family has their challenges, but their example has kept our family close and supportive of one another.
All around us we see broken examples of families and people, and I believe that if we just live by simple words as these, life could be better for everyone. Is it possible to live in a world where people get along, treat each other nicer, and families stay together? I believe it is.
So the next time we have a big gathering with our family and we stand in a circle, I will think of grandpa and his famous words... "Be kind to one another and stay together."
Love you Grandpa.