We turn to family and friends for a glimmer of hope

Imagine a desolate alley at night, when everything is impossibly dark, and we can see nothing but our shoes on the pavement. Nothing accompanies us except discomfort. But as quickly as we can plunge into that alley, a familiar face can appear. Honey gold light beacons off the pavement, and whatever fear or discomfort we previously felt is now banished. What once was an ominous stretch of loneliness is now just a distant memory, an ordinary path. And all of it because of one person, a friend, a family member, offering you the glow of a flashlight. And given the choice, anyone would rather walk through a difficult situation with someone they love standing right by them.

Ask Juniors Gabrielle and Madison Morrison if this is true, and both of their faces will glimmer with smiles. Being twins, and new students to PRHS this year, they decided to arrange to have all six of their classes together, because they “wanted to be here with each other,” rather than face new surroundings alone. They sought each other for comfort and trust, something they believe is the essence of both family and friendships.

“It’s obviously more than blood, like what everyone says, and it’s about being able to trust them. [They’re] someone you can trust and rely on.” Gabrielle said. The Morrison twins have two older sisters, also twins, who they remain close with, and a half brother.

People who lack these close bonds tend to be at greater risk of health issues, from mood disorders and mental illnesses like depression and chronic stress, to other stress-related chronic conditions like heart disease, according to newyorktimes.com. Familial bonds offer an improved standard of living and health benefits, and they offer that emotional comfort we all crave, a truth known by Sophomore Stefani and Senior Blake Irysh. Stefani has faced a lack of support from her father, but has received it instead from her brother. “I don’t really have much support from certain members of my family, but I do have some from Blake and some from my mom. And I appreciate that support.” Stefani said.

Blake also shares a similar view of Stefani, “She keeps up my happy-go-lucky attitude, and she’s one of the reasons why I’m like that. It’s a big part of who I am today.”

Family and friends, and our social interaction with them, is a large portion of our everyday lives, with a 72 percent of PRHS students reporting that family is a large portion of their lives, and another 72.5 percent reported turning to them for comfort.

Freshman Atiana Stratman can attest. When she isn’t on the soccer field, Stratman spends time with her parents and 12 year old brother, Chase. And when the choice of remaining on her old soccer team or advancing to a new one arose, Stratman said,” my parents supported me through this hard decision and I appreciate the fact that they support me in all decisions even if the decisions aren’t exactly what they would choose.” Atiana’s comfortability with her family allowed her to grow as a better soccer player as well as have her parents support.

While some may believe we are alone in the worst of times, it actually can be the contrary. Family, especially in the worst of times, can be a lifeboat in the sea, a rock when we fall, and even the light in a dark alley. When we feel alone, the best thing to do is find that lifeboat, rock, or tunnel and allow them to help and listen, because sometimes that’s what we need.

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