By this, they’ll know (Part I) / Kemy Ogendi

The way you treat your own says a lot about who you are.

People-watching is a pretty creepy hobby, when you think about it. But hey! Somehow, we’ve managed to make it socially acceptable and I’m glad – because I quite enjoy it. I particularly like watching people socialise – you can learn a lot about someone by seeing how they treat other people, especially how they treat their own. For example, you can learn a lot about a man by seeing how he treats his wife and kids. For this reason, I love watching the way that families interact, or close friends, or couples…it fascinates me. The way you treat your own says a lot about who you are.

As a teenager, I was very quick to fight with my siblings, ignore my parents, take my family for granted…and yet, I was also quick to be kind, patient and open-minded with people from the outside (friends, teachers, classmates, etc). I’d show grace to my friends but hold grudges with my family. I’d listen to my teachers but disengage whenever my parents spoke. I’d be keen to learn new skills at school or sport or music lessons – but at home, I was proud and stand-offish: completely, utterly convinced that I had heard it all before. In a nutshell: I was hypocritical, inconsistent, immature…

It took time (and intentionality) to work things out, but now my siblings and I are friends, we frequently ask our parents for advice and we’re open to hear it! (Even when we disagree or we see things very differently, or we’ve had this conversation several times before).

My sister and I have both left home for uni. She lives in Adelaide, I’m in New South Wales – but we still FaceTime them for everything! Assignment help, relationship advice, “Should I go on this road trip?” “Should I talk to that guy?”

Now, because we’re so far from home, when we’re together we treat each other right. Is there still conflict? Absolutely. But it’s different now – more mature, more constructive. What happened? We grew up. And as we did, we learned how to be kind, patient and open-minded with our own.

Mum reckons that “if you can’t love people that are your own – you’ll never love anyone you meet out there. Not truly. Not deeply.

The first place to be kind, patient, open-minded and empathetic is here, in this home.”

When that kind of love has been brewing in our own community, it WILL leak out onto everyone around us. This principle is like coconut oil! It’s useful for everything: families, friendship circles, relationships…churches. How we treat our own says something about who we are – but you already know that…