How to build a winning family through teamwork
A refugee testimonial on how his family survives through everyday struggle
One of the common theme when you hear stories of refugee experiences is about family. Whether that’s stories of how families struggle or families being separated. We are also hearing news about family separation or family violence regarding refugees and immigrants.
This is very sad, and the majority of us wouldn’t wish such a thing upon any family. As refugees and immigrant, we may have different stories and experiences, but we all know the pain of losing something we love. Whether that’s a home, a country, family member, or favorite childhood places.
For those who are fortunate to come to America as adults or adolescents.
We know the importance of staying together. But keeping the family together is one of the toughest aspect refugees face living in America. Every family is different, but we all understand the difficulties of working eight or more hours a day to provide for your family.
In addition to preparing their meals, and making sure they go to school and are staying under the right influences. Refugees face countless obstacles on a daily basis. From their jobs and career and dealing with stigmas of being a refugee. There is a lot of places where we can fight against these stigmas. But before we do any of that, we must fight to protect our families and build a strong foundation for our children. Children need a safe place to grow, and we should strive to give them everything we can to help them become more courageous and kind human beings. This will require a lot of teamwork.
But first, let me start by sharing a little about my family story.
My family and I moved to America in 2010 from Ethiopia after a decade of living in a refugee camp. As refugees, we know living in a refugee camp is just half of the battle. The real struggle begins when you have to cross the entire ocean to arrive on a different continent and live with people who are very different from you.
My family came to Sioux Falls, SD on April 1, 2010. My family consists of our mother and five boys. Our oldest is 27, second oldest 25, and I am the middle one at 23. I also have two younger siblings at the age of 21, and ten. I remember all the times while I was in high school and how my mom struggled to keep my family afloat. She wasn’t able to get a job because of language barriers.
Every morning, my mom would take our youngest sibling on the city bus to drop him off at a daycare, and she would go to English classes. She did this for three years, and we only had to survive on my oldest brother’s salary and TANF. All the while I was in high school, I would always think about how I would help my family when I finish high school. But through the years of struggling my family has survived the toughest times by sticking and by supporting each other.
This is now our eight years of living in America, and I’m proud of the progress that my family has made throughout the years. Both my brothers went to Job Corps and graduated, one is working as a welder and continuing his education for an Associate degree in Electrical Engineering. I’m now a junior in college studying Entrepreneurship.
Our most significant accomplishment as a family is buying our first house last month. After ten years of living in a refugee camp, and eight years of moving from apartment to apartment. It feels pretty good to have a place you can call home. But still, no family is perfect, and we still have our struggles and conflicts we are figuring out. But the important part is that we are committed to sticking together and supporting each other. Our next goal is to become citizens of the United States.
I believe if there is anything that has helped out my family is that we work as a team.
The best acronym I have heard about the team is “Together Everyone Achieves More.” I will share some of the strategies and principles that have helped my family, and hopefully, you can use it to build a stronger family that contribute more to the community
Principle #1: Develop trust within family members.
Trust is the number one needed thing when it comes to building relationships that are strong and fulfilling. Family members should be able to trust each other enough to ask for help if they are struggling. Trust will open doors for family members to share their opinions and ideas. Family members who are given more voice in the family will grow up to be more outspoken about the issues that matter to them.
Principle #2: Be Committed to Each Other.
As people who experienced separation and violence, most of us know the importance of staying together. No matter how hard things get, we should remind our family members that we are committed to protecting them, and helping them achieve their dreams. Children need to hear these words of encouragement on a regular basis. We shouldn’t just let the school system raise them. We should find every way we can to collaborate with the school. Parents should invest in the growth of their children, and children should be able to pay back with the same commitment to their school work and their extracurricular activities.
Principle #3: Talk Through Conflicts & Solve Them.
In raising a family, there is always going to be conflicts. and I would say refugee families go through more conflicts than regular American families. I believe this is because they have to navigate through two different cultures. This is often difficult for parents and children, and it’s important to talk through conflicts when they arise.
If parents are having trouble figuring out something because of language or cultural barriers, children should help out. If a kid is struggling to figure out between the different cultural values, parents should talk with their kids to help them understand and set appropriate boundaries.
Principle #4: Keep each other accountable.
This is one of the hardest parts when it comes to it working with a team, whether it’s at the workplace, or at home. Nowadays, everybody wants to do their own thing but don’t like to be held accountable because of the fear of failure or disappointment. But it’s important that when we are working as a team, that we should know what everybody is working on, so we can keep them accountable and support them along the way.
Principle #5: Measure the Results
It is true that we cannot improve what we don’t know. if we don’t know where are and where we want to go, it’s hard to measure the progress. I believe it’s important to have a vision or goal for your family, so you can work as a team to reach the goal. Whether if you are trying to buy a house, or build a family business, or send a family member to college, it is important that you specify the goal and bring your family together to see how they can contribute to the goal. Once you have a goal, you can measure the progress to see if you are guys are on the right track.
These are some principles or lessons that you can use to build a strong family life. I hope you can use them to become a great team player in your family and help them grow and achieve your goals. Success and Happiness to your family.
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