In Finding Forrester, an old film that is still one of my favourites, Sean Connery plays the part of a famous author named “William Forrester,” who serves as a mentor to a young prodigy and author named “Jamal Wallace,” who is played by Rob Brown.

I love this film because it’s about writing, and involves typing, talking and ideas.

William Forrester reads the student-written essay “Losing Family” to the class of students. The essay fades in the middle, but the beginning and end of the essay are poignant, touching, and captured my heart.

Mind you the essay is written by Jamal Wallace, his mentee, and no one in class knows, until later:

Losing family

Losing family obliges us to find our family. Not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood. Should we have the wisdom to open our door to this new family, we will find that the wishes we had for the father, who once guided us and for the brother, who once inspired us…

It’s true that losing family members can be a difficult and trying time, but in the midst of the pain, lies opportunities for new connections.

New connections are being made, not to take the place of older ones, but rather to supplement and carry on where the older ones left off.

Losing a family member might leave a hole in our lives, but there are those who care about us and can become new family members.

Having a supportive network, whether blood-related or not, can bring comfort, affection, and belonging. It’s crucial to be open to new relationships and develop those with friends, acquaintances, and those we care about.

Strong relationships can build a new, loving, and supporting family to help us through life’s challenges.

There are so many examples of finding a family:

Adoption: Adoption can unite strangers into a loving family. Adopted children have loving parents and siblings.

Foster Care: Foster children can find new families after losing their birth families. Foster families love, support, and house needy children.

Friendships can become family: Close friends often call each other “brothers” or “sisters” and share memories as precious as those with biological family members.

Communities: Community members can also locate new families. Religious groups, stockvel clubs, and startups typically create deep friendships and support each other.

Marriage: Married couples often start a new family and have children. Marriage creates a loving, supportive family.

Family isn’t defined by blood, but by the love and connection, we feel for one another.

A bit of a detour to a different movie:

In The Godfather I, there is a scene where Sonny Corleone and Tom Hagen are discussing Tom’s position within the Corleone family.

The conversation goes:

Sonny: “Tom, you don’t know what it’s like to be a Mafia boss.”

Tom: “I’m a loyal man, and I’ve been loyal to this family Sonny. I was raised in this family, like a son.”

This line highlights the idea that family is not just about blood relationships, but also about the connections and bonds that are formed through shared experiences and love.

The Godfather raised Tom as his own son and treated him as a member of the family, just as he would have treated a biological child. This demonstrates the strength and power of familial bonds, even when they are not based on blood.

When we welcome new individuals into our lives with open arms, we create opportunities for deep connections that enrich our lives.

Now back to Finding Forrester, William Forrester concludes his essay by reading the following to the class:

“… The only thing left to say will be: “I wish I had seen this, or I wish I had done that, or I wish…

Most of you are too young to know what your wishes will be. But when I read these words…words of hope, dreams, I realize that the one wish that was granted to me, so late in life was the gift of friendship.”

When my father passed away, I was utterly heartbroken; nevertheless, after a period of mourning, I had the good fortune to meet people who, despite the fact that they were not my biological fathers, took on the role of a father to me, and I’m eternally thankful to them.

So while blood may be thicker than water, it’s not the only factor determining a family bond’s strength. Love, connection, and support are what truly makes a family, and these things can be found in many different forms and relationships.

May we be grateful for the family we have, and may we be open to forming new connections and relationships that bring us joy and happiness.

One thought on “Losing family, finding family

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