What life lessons have you learned from your family?

It would be absurd of me to say that my parents were perfect. Be a good friend to find a good friend. Our families are the first people to set foot in our lives. They teach us to love without limits.

The concept of unconditional love is just something that families can teach through example, genuine care and influence. Your family life and the way your loved ones encourage you as your abilities progress is exactly the foundation on which you will build the rest of your life. If you know how to love the people closest to you without conditions, you will also know how to worship other people with the same unlimited love every day. Do you remember that Christmas when your father couldn't be there to prepare dinner, but he got home in time to open the presents? Or those times when your mother was really exhausted from work but still stays up just to make sure you know exactly what you're going to eat for the next few days? Our families teach us that sometimes things that aren't necessarily the most comfortable are still the right things.

They show us that sacrifice is one of the best ways to show someone how much you love them. If you know how to make sacrifices to make a situation less disruptive, you'll know exactly what to do for the people who matter most to you in the future. Our families teach how to care for people as well as ourselves. It's true that you need to take care of yourself first, but how you treat others is just as important.

Our families teach us the concept of altruism so that we can become people who help each other and are more than willing to help people who have less than us. Altruism teaches us to be kind, considerate, helpful and empathic. If you know how to think about others, you'll thrive in the long run. If you think that friendships create loyalty, you're wrong.

Your family is the first group you meet and that introduces you to what loyalty should really be. To be sure, the fact that they are from a similar lineage automatically means mandatory loyalty to one another, but being loyal to someone even when the situation forces them not to be loyal is a real test of character. I believe that loyalty is the cousin of unconditional love. Although it's not the same thing, it's very similar.

The idea of being loyal to whatever or person you hold most dear means that nothing in this life could break the bond you have, the love you share, and the experiences you've been through. Loyalty is firm certainty, trust and total love. In addition to teaching me to respect them, my parents taught me to respect and care for my siblings. As an eldest child, she was expected to take care of them and treat them fairly when mom and dad were away.

We children were also expected to respect each other. We weren't allowed to yell at each other. We had our disagreements, but we had to be civil with each other. I had two loving, God-fearing parents who taught me and my siblings the basic concepts of life and the spiritual values that would sustain us during the ups and downs that are part of everyone's life.