A motto that hangs on our walls at Delaware Valley Family Business Center reads, “Our family is a circle of strength and love. With every birth and every union, the circle grows. Every joy adds more love. Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.”
I experience this truth first-hand. One of my warmest memories of my dating years with my husband, Michael, was the introduction to his mother’s family from Ridgeley, WV, the Dayton’s. By nature and by nurture, the Dayton’s embrace each person they meet in life’s journey with love. They show genuine hospitality to family and friends, in addition to those experiencing difficult times financially or emotionally.
Every five years, we, the extended Dayton family members, anticipate the Dayton Family Reunion – held on the sprawling family farm, tucked in among the WV mountains, just off of Dirty Food Road. Preparation for such a large gathering over 3 days is mind-boggling. Yet, no one is ever without a bed, and food preparation is a constant. Hospitality is the name of the game and everyone is invited to participate, making peeling 75 lbs. of boiled potatoes a sport of great fun.
The Meaning of Family
We come to the farm, time and again, with our new family circles to reclaim a piece of this homespun legacy. Together is better to celebrate new life; together is better to hold hands, embrace, and face every crisis. Together makes the circle stronger. It seems like this fact is even more true today.
I am grateful to be grafted into this Dayton family and have learned:
- The Dayton model of hospitality is inspiring. It may be costly, but the life-long ties that result are well worth the effort, and offer rewards beyond imagination.
- Love characterized by patience, kindness, hope, and peeling potatoes can move mountains; it is the kind of love that never fails. Furthermore, it truly sustains when the hurdles of loss and grief come to our door. Likewise, it fills a heart with joy as we celebrate successes.
- Family is a gift. Consequently, we should take time to remember and be grateful for the legacy we have been given.
- Let’s open our hearts and our homes to others who need a little help along the way. In conclusion, in the words of Fred Rogers, “Making the world a better place is everyone’s responsibility.”