Why ‘Family First’ Can Sometimes Be a Dangerous Mantra

‘Family First’ can sometimes be a dangerous mantra because it can force you into a pre-ordained path, snuffing out your drive to forge your innovative path.
The Love Central - Why ‘Family First’ Can Sometimes Be a Dangerous Mantra The Love Central - Why ‘Family First’ Can Sometimes Be a Dangerous Mantra
Why ‘Family First’ Can Sometimes Be a Dangerous Mantra

The idea of family being paramount is a cornerstone of many cultures. We’re encouraged to prioritize loved ones, offering unwavering support. But what happens when the mantra “family first” becomes absolute? 

We’ve all heard the age-old adage: “Family First.” It’s practically ingrained in us, especially for Africans in the diaspora. 

Family is the foundation, the web of aunts, uncles, and cousins who raise a child, the support system that holds us up through thick and thin. But what happens when “Family First” starts to feel more like a cage than a warm embrace?

Let’s delve deeper with some concrete examples familiar to many high-achieving Africans abroad.

The Love Central - Why ‘Family First’ Can Sometimes Be a Dangerous Mantra
Then come the frantic calls from your parents in Nairobi They express subtle disappointment Image source Freepik

The Guilt Trip

Imagine this: You’ve aced the grueling investment banking interviews and landed your dream job on Wall Street. You’re on top of the world, ready to tackle the financial sector. 

Then come the frantic calls from your parents in Nairobi. They express subtle disappointment, hinting that a stable career back home, close to family, would be a more “responsible” choice.

Suddenly, “Family First” feels restrictive.

The Stifling Expectations

Perhaps your family in Ghana expects you to take over the family import-export business, a successful venture they built over decades. But your passion lies in renewable energy solutions, a field with the potential to revolutionize your home country’s future. 

‘Family First’ can sometimes be a dangerous mantra because it can force you into a pre-ordained path, snuffing out your drive to forge your innovative path.

The Cycle of Remittances

In some families, the dynamic becomes one of constant financial obligations. You slog away as a doctor in London, diligently sending a large chunk of your paycheck back to Lagos to support not just your parents but also your siblings’ education and ailing relatives.

While this is a noble act of filial piety, it can become a burden if it comes at the expense of your financial security and aspirations of opening your practice. ‘Family First’ can sometimes be a dangerous mantra in this case because it creates an unsustainable loop where your dreams are perpetually on hold.

Practical Tips for Liberation

But here’s the liberating truth: There’s a way to honor your family while soaring toward your personal goals. Here are some practical tips:

Redefine Family

Family isn’t just about blood ties. It’s the Ethiopian programmer friend who celebrates your late-night coding breakthroughs, the South African business mentor who guides your entrepreneurial journey, and the Senegalese partner who champions your fight against climate change. Let your chosen family, the people who empower you to thrive, be part of your “Family First” equation.

Honest Communication with Understanding

Have an open and honest conversation with your family about your aspirations. Explain that following your dreams doesn’t diminish your love and respect for them. Acknowledge their concerns and try to find common ground. Perhaps achieving your goals will allow you to provide even greater support for them in the long run.

Set Boundaries with Love

It’s okay to say no to unreasonable demands. You can prioritize family while also prioritizing your well-being and goals. Frame it with love and respect, explaining how honoring your needs allows you to be a more successful and supportive person for them in the future.

The Love Central - Why ‘Family First’ Can Sometimes Be a Dangerous Mantra
Perhaps your family in Ghana expects you to take over the family import export business Image source Freepik

Find Areas of Collaboration

Maybe your dream job as a software engineer in France allows you to develop tools that can streamline operations for your family business back home in Côte d’Ivoire. Perhaps you can find ways to support your family through occasional remote work projects or profit-sharing ventures in your field of expertise.

Conclusion: Why ‘Family First’ Can Sometimes Be a Dangerous Mantra

Remember, Africans in the diaspora have a unique and powerful story. We carry the indomitable spirit of our ancestors, but we also navigate the complexities of forging new lives in new lands. ‘Family First’ can sometimes be a dangerous mantra because it doesn’t account for the intricacies of this experience.

So, the next time you hear that familiar phrase, remember: family is important, but you are important too. Don’t let “Family First” morph into “Your Dreams Last.” Find a way to make your dreams part of the family legacy, a testament to the unwavering spirit that brought you here in the first place.

READ: Setting Boundaries for Love and Success: Prioritizing Both in Your Schedule 

Nurturing healthy relationships, be it romantic, platonic, or familial, requires dedicated time and effort. So, how do we strike a balance between pursuing success and prioritizing love in our already-packed schedules? The answer lies in the concept of setting boundaries.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x