I've always had a sneaking suspicion that the "Waltons" had it right, with that extended family of theirs. I mean, think about it.

They were always there for each other. They had lots of people they could talk to and confide in—every day!

They never had to travel hither and yon for holidays .. . they were already together ... three generations of them!

The parents never had to entrust their children with strangers when they left home ... Grandma and Grandpa were always there.

And Grandma and Grandpa never had to worry about being lonely or needing a hand ... there were many hands at hand all the time, and all willing, ready, and able to lend a hand!

They never had to be concerned about security, since someone was home nearly all the time.

They never had to worry about making arrangements for someone to feed the pets while they were away ... again, someone was home nearly all the time.

And when the parents were too busy to spend quality time with their offspring, Grandma and Grandpa took up the slack.

And Grandma and Grandpa were there on a daily basis to pass on the wisdom and experiences they had gleaned from life, not only to their own children, but to their grandchildren.

Then, all the children learned to respect their elders, and the elders surely deserved that respect, in turn.

The other thing that tugs at my heart in that recipe for longevity above is that we should emphasize relationships and harmony over the pursuit of wealth or success.

While it's much too late in many of our lives to entertain the thoughts of an extended family living arrangement, it is not too late to start putting the emphasis on relationships and harmony over the "god" of success and wealth.

You know, the Bible really is a wonderful guidebook for living life on earth, even if you're not a Christian. For instance, it warns against having other "gods" (idols in our lives, such as the pursuit of wealth, success, sports, television, etc.).

Think about it. Aren't these the very things that many times keep us away from pursuing more enriching relationships with family and friends?

I'll give you two examples, both from recent episodes in my life. On Mother's Day, one of my twins did not show up for the annual gathering, because his son had yet another ball game. That "child" is nearly fourteen and surely old enough to understand that his father should have spent Mother's Day (at least a portion of it) with his mother, not with his son. This may sound a bit selfish on my part, but when you consider that this grandson of mine is an only child and has some sport scheduled nearly seven days a week, and my son rarely sees me, even though he lives only about fifty miles from us, it becomes a bit more understandable.

The second example happened just yesterday afternoon. My husband and I had stopped for coffee in the very town in which my other twin son lives, so I called on the spur of the moment to ask if he'd like to join us for half an hour or so. He couldn't be bothered, because he was watching a movie! This son lives about forty miles from us, but he does make it a point to see me more often than the other one.

I actually see and talk to my daughter, who lives a hundred miles from us, more often than I do either of my sons! But what's that old saying ... "A son's a son 'til he takes a wife, but a daughter's a daughter for the rest of her life!"

And then there are friends. I've had a friend since 1960, who lives about twenty-five miles from us, and we exchange Christmas cards, but it's been well over a year since we've seen each other. No one's "fault," just busy-ness.

Then I have another friend I've also known since 1960; she lives about ten miles from us, and I haven't seen her for probably ten years ... we no longer bother to exchange cards. And the same goes for another friend from the 1960s ... last I heard she was living in Colorado. We just stopped communicating for some unknown reason.

I could go on and on with various friends and relatives, but you get the picture, and I'm sure you have similar stories.

We have to stop and remember that, every time someone drops out of our lives, so does a piece of our lives! For without family and friends, what else is life made of? God is love, and as expressions of His love, we have to have objects of love for that expression.

So make it a point to stay in touch ... if only by email!

Author's Bio: 

The writer spent her early years in the legal arena and the last 23 years in property management. She has been an avid Bible student since 1987 and became an online publisher in 2001. She still publishes her bi-weekly ezine, 'elf Expressions Ezine, a collection of positive tips, hints, and advice offered with humor, inspiration, and other goodies for anyone who is inclined to read. The emphasis these days is on the finer points of Christianity. Guidance, mentoring, inspiration, English lessons, editing, and proofreading services for entrepreneurs and online marketers are also offered. Subscribe if you like at http://www.elfexpressionsezine.com.