What is an Auntie? Is it Different Than Aunt?

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Do you have an Auntie? I hope so because everybody deserves to have someone in their lives who will encourage, support and think they are wonderful.

Many people have asked me about my title of Auntie Artichoke. Whose aunt am I? Do I have many nieces and nephews and they call me Auntie Artichoke? Actually, I do have relatives, but the title of Auntie has nothing to do with blood lines but rather spiritual connections.

It is an honorary title that is given to a woman who has a great influence in the life of others. This title implies strength and an ability to see the best and encourage good choices. In many cultures, including Hawaiian and Native American, wise, kind and guiding mentors and teachers are called Auntie and Uncle as a sign of respect and affection.

The underlying message of an Auntie is love and acceptance. As an Auntie, I am able to share wisdom and insight without the "shoulds and should nots" parents like to enforce. There is no shame, blame and criticism.

Aunties can listen without judgment, share without restrictions and love unconditionally.

I am honored to be called Auntie and to use the Artichoke as a symbol of the work I do. The artichoke is a strange food and many have never tried it because they were not sure what to expect. It certainly looks funny.

But the artichoke is very much like the families I work with across the world who are just like yours and mine.

We are all closed off and held tight at first glance. Some of us have prickly ends and don't want to be opened or examined too closely. The only way to open an artichoke and a family member is with patience and warmth.

Until the artichoke has time to cook, the leaves won't open and reveal the true treasure-which is the heart. As you pull apart the leaves, you will find them increasingly delicious and meaty. When you have spent the time and effort to unfold the heart of either the artichoke or person, you will find the heart.

After you finish peeling and eating an artichoke or visiting with an Auntie, you will see there is much more there than meets the eye. There are hidden depths waiting to be discovered.

My wish for each of you is to find an Auntie or Uncle who will love you unconditionally and assist you on this journey called life. My second wish for you is that you BE an Auntie or Uncle and that you mentor and guide others. Help them to find their true hearts.

I have confidence in you and your ability to reach your dreams and goals.

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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