Consequently, I have profound respect for a woman I know who, to maintain the bond of love and support among her immediate family, from grandchildren to the adults, regularly convenes family meetings to address confusion that may potentially weaken their bond.
But what about us for whom that strategy does not work?
Remember, ‘the walking wounded’ are plentiful among us. So, for those of us who yearn for close family ties, perhaps we should start by attempting to identify and understand the countless possibilities that feed hurtful difficult family connections such as:
- Generational differences powered by conflicting philosophies of how we see the world and our place in it,
- Lies and misdemeanors drizzled down from one generation to the next,
- Jealousy and lingering often baseless resentments,
- Feelings of entitlement,
- Sibling rivalry,
- Lack of honest discussion to dispel misunderstandings,
- Family dynamics or unique patterns of relating to each other,
- Taking family for granted, and
- The fact that some people are simply emotionally crippled and deprived of the capacity to form healthy, mutually nurturing relationships.
Isn’t it strange how we can forgive the indiscretions of lovers, friends, even strangers on the streets? So why can’t we release those often exaggerated feelings that compromise harmony within our families?
Let’s do our best to enter this holiday season by releasing all grudges and bitterness. Life’s too short. Wise counsel that may assist in mending family disconnect is presented by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s 1934, The Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” My postscript for this petition is “especially the disconnect in family relationships”.
I’m on this
journey with you.