“There’s just something about family,” said Rhoda. “They’re always there.”
I was visiting with my daughter, up from Oakland, CA, in mid-July. She’d already been to Alberta to see cousins, uncles, aunts and Grandpa.

She talked of how she hadn’t seen most of them for a long while, how many of them were so different from her, yet how bonded she still felt, because they were “family.”
We talked about our family, her siblings, her mother and me. We’re diverse, too, living in places from Boston to Oakland to Vancouver to the Fraser Valley, have differing views and styles, even religious and political perspectives. But we’re “family,” and that’s a bond that keeps us fully supportive of, and attached to, each other. It supersedes our differences.
A couple of weeks later we hosted our extended family–my Mom, my siblings, their children and grand-children–for our biennial family gathering. Over 30 of us. Not everyone could come, but some were there who’d missed the last few gatherings, whom we hadn’t seen in years. I was surprised some of them still cared.

But again, we were “family.” An even greater range of origins (add Manitoba, Alberta and southern California—Ukraine, Germany and Australia didn’t make it to this one); age range, from 2 to 88; plus even greater diversity of experiences and range of perspectives.
Those I’d wondered about, fit in well, and expressed how much they loved being there. We played, we chatted, we competed, we shared, we laughed, we even sang. The final verdict? This was the best gathering, yet. We’ll do it again in two years.

Families are diverse. Not all get along as well as ours; some wouldn’t make it through three days without a fight. Others share a lot tighter geographical circles or world views or life experiences. Some meet frequently, some only occasionally.


When I look around, though, I see the power of the family bond all around me. It’s not only in tight families that have shared values and experiences. And it’s not always convenient. I see grandparents gladly raising their grandchildren when the parents are incapable of it. I see parents supporting, even defending, their children when they go in directions opposite to what they, and society, would deem acceptable. I see children cheerfully looking after senile parents who must be a tremendous burden on them. I see mothers and fathers co-signing their children’s loans without much hope of getting the money back.
The family bond is powerful, likely the most powerful force in the world.
And that’s as it should be.
At least, that’s how I see it . . .

Rent 2 Own tip
One of my friends, in describing what I do as a rent 2 own operator, likes to explain that I’m really doing social work. The bottom line is: Yes, she’s probably right.
While our program is designed primarily to fix the three standard mortgage-killers—insufficient down payment, poor credit score and inadequate work history—it may include other issues, as well. The goal is to see whether we can develop a win-win scenario that gets the client eligible for a mortgage at the end. We’ll do whatever it takes, as long as the client also commits to that, and we can be assured that it is a benefit to all. Sometimes, the biggest issue is education. Sometimes it takes creative ideas, far “outside the box” thinking. But, if it makes sense, we’ll go there.
Sometimes, it can be best described as social work.
Last week we successfully closed out a deal with one of our clients. Today her sister emailed me: “I want to put in writing a big thank you for believing in and supporting my sister and her goal of making her home truly hers. You are an angel, very rare in this world. Thank you very much.”

Quote of the Week:
A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.
– George Moore