Monday, June 2, 2014

Family Therapy

How does family deal with each other, an age-old question that has been around since the beginning.  I’ve heard it said that you don’t get to choose your family.  Although this is a true statement, the negative overtones with which it was said caused me concern. 
Growing up in my family, we were always close.  If you saw one of us, chances are there was another of my siblings not far behind.  It was seldom that we were allowed to go anywhere by ourselves.  In those early years, all we had was each other.

Now that we are all adults, I treasure those times growing up with my brothers and sister.  When we get together, which is seldom (something that we have to fix), we tell the same old stories that we lived growing up, with the same enthusiasm and get the biggest laughs every time; the memories are golden.

I married into a family that share very similar values of family.  I see my brothers and sisters-in-love more often that my siblings. Oh by the way, we do the brother and sister in-love instead of the in-law thing just so we are clear.  In the above photo there are eight of us; so that’s eight different views, eight different opinions, and eight different personalities with eight different positions. 
I asked them why we get along so well, what is the secret to our success.  Other families have estranged and stressed relationships.  The fact of the matter is that we only get one shot at life; I don’t believe we should waste it by holding and carrying grudges; as time goes by the load of a grudge gets heavy.

The answer that I got from the question posed was multi-layered, which is as follows:  We all shared a common faith in God, which serves as a foundation and base line for our relationships.  We have a genuine care and concern for each other; there are no pretenses.  We seek out each other’s advice; even for the hard and tough issues.  I’d venture to say that no subject is off limits.
We have accepted the other for the adult they’ve become with their own views, opinions and flaws which are acknowledged and respected.  We are able to be real and have honest conversations.  We’re not in competition with each other.  We want the best for the other and push each other to grow.  We face hardships as a couple and if necessary as a family – there is strength in numbers; a three strand cord is not easily broken.

With my recent return from an almost yearlong military deployment, I realize that I need the safe, supportive, and loving arms of family that is there when I need it.  This is also coupled with me time or alone time.  Both are needed to make the physical and emotional adjustment of being back in the U.S.  This is just the kind of therapy from family that I need; yours may differ.

If you are estranged from your child, mother or father, sister or brother, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, maybe even cousins make an attempt to find the solution.  There are many different reasons for the differences; divorce, death, hurt feelings, bitterness, and resentment just to name a few. 
I know what I’m asking may seem difficult, but the alternative is not how family operates.  I know the hurt and pain maybe deep seated and I get that, but God can heal that area of your life, if allowed.  If after your attempt, the outcome is not the desired one, at least you’ve extended the olive branch; there is no price for peace.

Family is the basic building block of our society, we all deserve to be in one that is loving, strong, and sticks together.  It doesn’t happen overnight and will require an all-around effort, but is most definitely worth the work; the risk is worth the reward. 
Family does matter; make or continue to nurture yours to make it vibrant and healthy.  I know that this subject deserves a lot more attention than this, but it is a start - with the potential of being the start of something great.  So go to it; nothing happens until someone makes it happen; be the catalyst to your great family.

This has been your 380 seconds of encouragement.


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