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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Auntie

I listened to a repeated essay on CBC yesterday in celebration of "aunts." Mostly the discussion was about all the wonderful qualities of various female relatives, sisters of parents or wives of uncles. These may be the ones we look up to or seek support for the first time outside our close family. Maybe they're mentors or models.

But one bit of the story got me thinking about how our congregations work. The reference was to "auntie" as someone, not necessarily related by blood, but related by friendship or geography who takes on the responsibility of a closer relationship with a younger person. It could be your mother's best friend or a neighbour you drop in on after school.

I had this kind of "auntie" as a child and young teen. And I see some of these women in the congregations I visit. Maybe they're Sunday school teachers; maybe childless women in the congregation who befriend little ones, or the awkward pre-teens or the adolescents (an appropriate adjective escapes me). They might even be moms of friends who somehow see you differently than your own mom.

Aunties talk to us like real people, recognize our adult qualities before our parents do, show real interest in what we're doing or thinking or planning. They play a key role in a congregation that is creating the best qualities of "community."

Has your life been enriched by an auntie?

2 comments:

  1. I have many aunts -- both 'real' and 'extended'. We have a really large family, and my aunts played a very important role in my life growing up -- in fact, they still do. And then there are the many 'extended' women who I've called aunt all my life.

    I am also an aunt of five wonderful kids and it is one of my most cherished jobs in the world. I believe being an aunt is a very important role and probably one of the most rewarding. In addition to my five nieces/nephews, I am "Aunt Karen" to many of my closest friends' children. And it makes my heart warm when they call me that.

    My anecdote is about "Aunt Thora". To this day, I still don't really know what her relationship was with my parents, but I do remember going to her house on a regular basis to be babysat as a young child with my brother. She had a huge tree in her yard with a swing that we used to play on -- and she made excellent peanut butter and banana sandwiches. In fact, when I ended up going to the high school near her home many years later, I remember walking past her house every day and remembering all the great visits I had there.

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  2. My sister is a fosterparent who uses the title "Auntie" with her young charges to avoid confusion as many want to call her "Mommy". That does not sit well with the biological Mom. She plays a special part in their lives as they come to her when the family is in crisis. She accepts them, nurtures them, protects them and loves them for whatever period of time they are in her home. She has had 71 "neices" and "nephews" over the past 15 years.
    Recently she visited one of her kids who had been adopted approximately two years ago. After a wonderful visit, Meeshie threw her arms around my sister and said "Can I go home with you, Auntie?" Special relationship? You bet.

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