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June 14, 2024

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Can I have more?

Whooo hooo! Byron Bay business community donates $1,360 to BayFM… ‘Please Sir, can I have some more?’ should have...

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Can I have more?

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Family Magazine

Family Magazine #5

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Creating family in the modern world

What is family? It can be the people we are biologically related to, it can be the people we choose, it can be the communities and cultures we are born into, or the ones we create and become part of. For as many of us as there are in the world, there are as many meanings of family. But at the heart it is the people we have around us both by accident and design, the people who make up our world, the ones who make us cry, make us laugh, and challenge us – as well as the ones we challenge, make cry, laugh with. They are not always easy, we don’t always like or love them but they are the ones we identify as family, that in some way we are connected to.

Throughout this Family Magazine we explore a range of families, their relationship to their communities and culture and how we choose to shape the world around us and our families to create learning, opportunities and support for each other.

In Australia today family is now acknowledged as not just the male and female parent with their 2.5 children that meet the Western ideals set out by the church and state. Today we are in the privileged position to be able to openly acknowledge and celebrate a wide range of families and family structures that are such a vital and important part of our culture and identity.

Some families decide to bring children into the world and there is no easy path here. Children are a challenge, they keep you awake at night, they change your life in ways you never imagined, they introduce worry, love, expectations and fear and can reduce you to tears! At least mine have…

As you try and guide them through the world and keep them safe, we attempt to give them opportunities and skills to navigate their own futures (and try not to turn into your own parents – well at least not the bad parts). One of the most revealing moments of parenthood for me was preparing to say goodbye to my eldest child as they were looking to head off into the world. I realised that no, I couldn’t wrap them in cotton wool, I couldn’t protect them from hurt or injury. I only hoped that through their family, their friends and their community that they had been given the opportunity to gain enough understanding of the world around them that they could make good decisions in relation to the risks and opportunities life would give them – and enough sense to learn from their mistakes.

The ability to understand, learn and evaluate, the ability to love, the capacity to say ‘no’ and the ability to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes is one of the most precious things family, community and our supporting cultures can give us – and one of the most important we can receive.

Family, love them or otherwise they are often our greatest challenge and blessing.

– Aslan Shand, editor

Family Magazine #4

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Our choices matter

If we are lucky, it is within our families that we first begin to learn how to manage effectively in the world. With our family members we learn how to learn, how to manage our emotions, how to make mistakes and pick ourselves back up, how to forgive others and ourselves for those mistakes and, hopefully, how to grow. Not everyone is that lucky!

Fortunately, families come in all shapes and sizes and while we can’t choose our biological family, we do have the opportunity to choose those people who become our broader family. They are the ones we might choose as family, as partners, and as friends. So it is not just the basic family unit that supports us – it is the multitude of families and networks that we are part of that shape us throughout our lives and keep us learning, growing and shaping the world around us.

In a country where women and men are free to make their own choices we can choose to create a family that reflects us and supports us if our biological family are unable to. We are free to love people of every gender and orientation. We are able to live as a hermit, in multi-generational and multicultural family structures that work for us. We are free to seek the support we need to live great lives.

The broader family is also our community, and as Mandy Nolan points out on page 16 it is sometimes the smaller things that can have a significant impact. Our choices about how we live our lives, how we choose to interact with our community and how we shape our community can deliver positive outcomes. Our communities are shaped by the choices we make about our family that not only supports us, but also those around us.

The world is large and ever-growing and the individual can sometimes feel like a speck in this vast ocean of humanity. But the small, everyday, individual choices that we make; about how we interact with others, how we choose to be compassionate, and when we decide to stand firm, allow us to have an impact. Our choices can lead to important impacts both large and small. For example, we can choose how we care for our elderly, what we choose to emphasise as important in the education of children, the organisations we decide to support and get involved with, or the way we will vote in the next state election. These choices affect the world around us, but they also affect us – and how we perceive the world and the future of people on this little planet that circles the sun in an enormous ever-expanding universe.

Like the world and the community, our family is shaped by us. It is shaped by the choices we make, our generosity, and the forgiveness we are prepared to extend to each other. Ultimately, to make our lives more full, more fun and more meaningful we need to create families and communities that are supportive and forgiving – that drive forward, prepared to stand up for the wellbeing of others and this amazing planet that we are fortunate enough to call home.

– Aslan Shand, editor

Family – Issue Three

Issue #3, Winter/Spring 2022

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The family tapestry

Families are things we are born with, things we make, and things we chose. But they are inevitably an important part of our lives for both good and bad. The question is what can we learn from them; when do we need to let them go; and how can we be there for them when they need us?

I’ve discovered that families are a journey, they are the people we have in our lives – be they the ones we have been born with or the ones we choose – they are the ones who have impact. From childhood, parents, siblings, cousins, and family friends help shape our ideas, our memories and our choices. But there comes a point when we learn to question, or at least I hope we do, the ideas they give us. When, as children, we need to pull away and decide what is important to us. It is the point at which we, or our children, or other members of our chosen family need to be let go, to let them make mistakes, and then be there for them when they fall and when they succeed.

I can’t be there for my family every step of the way, but when I’m needed I am there. This is one of the greatest gifts my family have given each other, that when times are truly difficult, they are quietly there. We are not a fairweather friends, in fact there are members of my family that I may not see for years but when it has gone belly up they were there, supporting, helping, ensuring I didn’t drown. These were birth family and chosen family, these were the people who make up the tapestry of my life.

In an age that for many means we have family and friends all over the world it might just be a phone call or a letter at the right time or it might be a dash to be there in person when you are needed. The important thing to remember is that family is what you make it; so have fun, laugh, cry and remember to forgive – because at the end of the day we are all only human.

– Aslan Shand, editor

Family – Issue Two

Get the most out of family life on the North Coast
Issue Two, Autumn–Spring 2022

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Family, community, and life

Australian families have been significantly impacted over the past few years with additional pressure and stress.

For some it has meant they haven’t been able to see family members for several years. For others it has meant they have been unable to be with parents or other family members when they have passed away or attend their farewells. For others disagreement and disharmony have caused misaligned chakras and bad juju karma. But it has also reminded us all that family, be that by blood or by choice, are essential to our wellbeing.

Family stretches the gamut from deeply personal one-on-one relationships and small interpersonal groups out through to the broader community.

It is through our choices that we not only support each other but build a stronger community that supports everyone from the youngest to the oldest knowledge holders. It is about recognising the fact that we all bring value and that we exist better together than apart.

But the journey can be challenging as we grow and determine our sense of self or as we age and meet the limitations of our ultimate decline.

The stories that have been explored in these pages are about the choices that we face, the personalities and opportunities that are thrown on our paths and the importance of not only the personal journey but the journey we take with each other.

While the pandemic has seen plans to be with family for funerals and festive celebrations scattered to the wind it has also reminded us of the importance of reaching out to others. Of letting someone know, or being let know, that the people who care are there for you even if they can’t be there in person.

At a time when anxiety is increasing, people are challenged with caring for and teaching children at home, young people are feeling they aren’t getting to stretch their wings, and older people are feeling isolated and people on the front line are being stretched to the limit, it is essential to remember that we can all take a moment to let someone know that we care. It is through our actions that we create family, community, and support each other’s lives. It is through choosing to be a part of others’ lives that we can enrich those around us and create the supportive families that make this journey one of fun, laughter, and a life worth living.

– Aslan Shand, Editor

Family North Coast 2021 Magazine

Issue One – July 2021

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Welcome to our latest publication, Family.
We hope you enjoy it!

When you think about it, families are like a microcosm of the larger community, or the world at large – like a mixed bag of lollies you don’t always get to choose and you don’t always get your favourites – but whether they are your biological, chosen or extended family we tend to come together when we really need each other.

Certainly, that has always been the way with my crazy lot – chosen and unchosen. We don’t live in one another’s pockets, in some cases we don’t talk to each other for years, but I know deep inside that if any of us need support we will be there for each other, favourites or not.

It isn’t an unconditional love, but it is a trust in knowing you have someone who has got your back. It is knowing that when a parent is ageing we will recognise they need our help, when someone has a life crisis, mental health challenges or are differently-abled we will be there for them. Not because as a grandparent, sibling, or chosen family member we want to drop everything and take care of them, but because that is what you do. And that is what we do as a larger community, that is what we do as part of our social contract with the state, with the world.

As humans we live in groups and the signature of ‘civilisation’ is the ability to care for the more vulnerable, to create ritual to bring us together, and look after each other. That is why I support free access to education, health and equity of opportunity for everyone – because that is what I would want for my family, the people I love, and that is what everyone, by extension, deserves.

It is why I care for the environment and the wellbeing of other creatures on this planet, because without each other we can never be any greater than the individual. As a species we humans have great capacity for understanding, knowledge and invention (we can also be self-righteous, cruel and down right blinkered) but it takes coming together in families, in communities, and as a world to solve the problems we face.

As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to be there for all the vulnerable people in our lives, ourselves included, as we carry each other through. By extending our understanding of family we can support each other into a more equitable world for all creatures and the planet; because if we don’t come together to carry each other through then we will never find the solutions we need for either ourselves or our future.

Perhaps I was wrong, perhaps it is unconditional love that we need.

– Aslan Shand, Editor

Rail trails

Having ridden both local rail trails I can only say what a pleasure they bring. No cars or traffic noise (mostly), birds, beautiful plants, etc....

Murwillumbah’s Budd Park – what do you want to see there?

Tweed Council is seeking community feedback on a draft concept plan to upgrade Budd Park at Murwillumbah, a popular meeting point beside the Tweed River.

Ballina Council join study to understand water use

Ballina Council has joined Bathurst, Dubbo and the Murray River Council areas to participate in a cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology that aims to identify how people use water across regional NSW. 

Call for immediate ban on logging in the proposed Great Koala National Park 

There will be no more koalas in the wild in NSW by 2050 if we don’t take action to preserve their habitat, according to a NSW state parliamentary inquiry in 2020, but the Nature Conservation Council say NSW Labor still isn’t doing enough.