Creating and Sustaining Loving Family.

It is hard to change a family once the patterns are established, but that is not to say it can’t be done. It requires willingness, determination and maybe even outside (family therapy). The idea is to examine the old patterns which are not helpful and learn new ones in their place  which are more conducive to fostering harmony in the family. Here are some suggestions for creating and sustaining loving family by Donald and Nancy Tubesing, a Lutheran minister and educator – listed in their book The Caring Question.

1. Reach out in your family: They suggest in caring for your family by giving yourself to them, we ourselves grow in caring , tolerance and understanding. That is exactly what is needed in the long run to create a loving and caring family.

2. Make the family top priority: They found this characteristic to be common in most of the healthy families. It makes sense because making the family a top priority requires deliberate decision to invest time and energy in family relationships.

3. Expand the family memory bank: Every family has storehouse of collective memories….by recalling peak experiences ( which I mentioned in my article on New Years Resolution) , reliving familiar rituals and traditions, and retelling family stories keep the family spirit alive.

4. Deal with family problems: Our commitment to one another in the family provides the context for working out , rather than walking away from , the problems. All families have problems, commitment to family includes that we continue looking for alternative solutions if the current ones are not working.

5. Finding the forgiveness factor: Families need some way to reach out to one another with love and forgiveness. Most of us haven’t had much experience with true forgiveness. We need to learn how to ask for, grant and accept forgiveness……Forgiveness is not forgetting; it is refusing to hold grudges. Forgiveness doesn’t demand that the others change first. Forgiveness is an attitude freely given that accepts hurts and drops the charges…… Seek out and practice a variety of rituals for asking and offering forgiveness in your family.

6. Accentuate the positives: Say I love you ….don’t assume that the others know you care. Tell your family you love them with your words, with your looks, with your touch, with your attitude, with your thoughtfulness – several times a day. Affirm one another by noticing each others unique qualities, tell them they are special.

Resources:

Chop Wood Carry Water

By Rick Fields, with Peggy Taylor, Rex Weyler, and Rick Ingrasci.

Family Life – love it or fight it – it will shape your future.

Family is the most important mode of association in our life. We can love the family or hate it but like it or not it will shape our future. It is hard to ignore or neglect the central role family play in our life. It is the matrix of life where our journey begins and in this matrix we share a bond of common experience  and love that is unique in its strength and depth. It is this beginning which leaves in us a psychological imprint of our family and influences our future relationships. Sometimes without us even knowing that our family experience is influencing us. At times I see patients who know that  the way they are conducting themselves doesn’t make any sense but they still continue repeating the same destructive behavior because they don’t know how to stop it and it makes no sense to them that they are doing it. It is not until we examine the early childhood experiences and the patterns of behavior that got established, that we fully start to understand the present behavior. The family is such a rich source of information about ourselves that some therapist don’t even want to work with the patient directly until they interviewed as many family member as they can to understand the family dynamics because that’s where the best hope lies for helping the patient.

We don’t get to choose our family, like we do our friends. We are born in a family , we have no choice of the parents and no choice of our siblings. If our values and outlook on life differ from those of our family we still have to get along with them until we are of an age we can leave home. Family, therefore can be a demanding training ground for learning how to live with our fellow human beings. Generally speaking if we “graduate” with flying colours from the family life then we will do well in life outside the family. If we had a difficult time of it in the family, experienced little love and support, didn’t feel safe and secure; were unable to resolve the problems with our parents and our sibling then we will take these issues with us when we leave the family and then recreate them in our relationships with others outside the family until we learn our “lesson”. Many of the problems that are reenacted result from suppressed feelings stored from incidents that happened when we  were children. The same unresolved conflicts we had with our parents always seem to ” mysteriously ” reappear to affect our current adult relationship.

Most people’s experience of the family is as a loving support system from which we can live our lives, venture out into the wider world to explore and interact with confidence; and then come back to a loving family at the end of the day. The family also act as a mini-society where we can test and put into practice all the ideas about the sort of life one wants to lead. If we want peace in the world, we can try to create peace in the family; if we want a loving life we can practice building loving relationships within the family. Our family will give us very accurate feed back on our performance which can be valuable information for our own personal growth. It is hard to overestimate the influence our families have on us and some people believe it starts even before birth.

Importance of the Family  may also be one of the important ingredient for creating a positive future for the world according to sociologist Elise Boulding. She writes….The truth is that the home is the training ground where people first learn to live with one another, where they learn to love , to hate, to get angry, to fear , to forgive. Unless they can learn in their homes how to love and work with other people, how to handle hate, anger and fear so that it does not destroy themselves or others, and unless they can experience the full depth of forgiveness in the give and take of family life, they are not going to be able to go into the world and help….

Resources:

Chop Wood Carry Water

By Rick Fields, with Peggy Taylor, Rex Weyler, and Rick Ingrasci.

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