We are all different – but we are family

FOOTSTEPS IN FAITH

In every family there is always the pull and tug of relationships … between siblings, between age groups, between parents and children, among relatives to all degrees. But the bottom line is that we remain “family”.

We will not lose each other through misunderstandings, disagreements or arguments if we remain open and in communication. Open, meaning open-minded, aware, and responsive to each other’s feelings. Open, meaning receptive to change.

Each of us have been affected by the events in the past. What lies before us will depend on how we react to the past and respond to the future. Reacting is doing or saying something quickly without thinking about how your action or words would affect other people; reacting generally has a 50-50 chance of being correct. Responding on the other hand is doing or saying something that will have a positive impact and will initiate an upbuilding effect in the situation; responding with empathy does not create hurts, or misunderstandings that are difficult to forgive, or that damage relationships.

Responding positively with empathy means not taking offense at something said, but looking behind the meaning of what has been said or done, sort of reading between the lines and seeking to understand where that person is coming from.

However we should not just concentrate on responding. In order for us to grow and mature, we need to be able to initiate change, to not focus on what we cannot change, but to move on and focus on what good we can do, on beginning to begin a transformative change rather than just thinking or talking about change and how to make things better.

In conversing with another person, we can talk more about their interests in life, instead of dwelling on a litany of our own personal hurts, our health concerns, or our hardships. The more we think about the hard times we have been through, the less time we have to think about how we can do better in the tomorrows to come. Hard times are a normal part of life; it is how we respond to these hard times that counts and forms our character into either an optimistic person or a pessimistic person.

Communication is sooooo important. Family relationships, indeed all kinds of relationships, need to be built over time, but they can be destroyed in a single word. That is why we all need to be open with each other, but without the intention to hurt the other. Relationships need to be nurtured … one letter, one note card, one telephone call, one or two texts are not nurturing. We each have to do our part in opening and maintaining communication lines. Never mind if the other person does not answer a text or letter or notecard right away. The important thing here is to let them know that you are thinking of them. You are responsible for your own thoughts and actions. The other persons are responsible for theirs.

Repairing hurts and mending strained relationships in the family depend on good, open, loving communication. When we are able to lift our thoughts away from our hurts, the days become brighter and our burdens seem lighter.

And we can reunite again as family, moving on as one with more smiles and less tears, with more laughter and less fears.

Yes, we can be hurt by in family intrigues and rivalry. But the fact remains that we are still family. Going the extra mile gets us where we are going faster, easier, and along the way we bond as one family and gather many friends around us.