‘You Can Choose Your Friends, but Not Your Family’

UPDATED: May 27, 2024
PUBLISHED: November 29, 2016

Growing up in a large Italian family, I learned many lessons on relationships—lessons we all learn at some point in our development to adulthood and beyond. Each of us has a unique and colorful childhood that creates the people we are today. Navigating that time with characters from our families—from the big-talking uncles, gossiping aunts, fighting siblings and neurotic parents—either makes us into skillful diplomats or amazing magicians, depending on whom you ask. Finding those interpersonal solutions in the confines of your family circle, where the only thing greater than the law of the land is the law of Mom, are what we reference as adults.

Related: All in the Family

As senior production designer for SUCCESS, I don’t normally get to share my words with our readers, as my job is on the visual side. I take the words of others, actual writers, and help make those stories come to life on the pages of the magazine. For that to happen, I must work directly with everyone on the magazine staff, our family. Just like every family, ours is full of characters, each adding their own element of nuttiness to the group. I draw upon my skills as a diplomat and a magician on a daily basis. The SUCCESS team is a tight-knit group and we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Just like members of any family, there are brother and sister roles, parental roles, even a few black sheep. All have their unique jobs, and all work for a common goal, to bring you, the reader, the best content every month.

Related: How to Build Good Relationships 

When I began putting my thoughts down for this note, a quote from the writer Harper Lee came to mind: “You can choose your friends, but not your family.” Nothing could be more true, both at home and especially at work. All of us who work outside of our homes are unwittingly and randomly placed together with people either of similar skill sets or by sheer luck. Families are the same way, thrown together not by choice but by fate, and forced to make the best of it.

Whether by luck or fate, I’m thankful for both of my families. Both are a perpetual source of inspiration and perspiration; they not only challenge me but give me laughter along the way.

Related: 14 Loving Quotes About Family


This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Christian Stovall

Senior Production Designer for SUCCESS Magazine, Christian Stovall, started his career as a fashion photographer and has been in the print advertising and magazine publishing industry for over 20 years.