Families are complicated entities. They are filled with drama, compromise, joy, frustration, love, hate, disagreement, bonding, not bonding, forging together and breaking apart. 

For years I thought my parents and grandparents were the centers of the family circle. Then the sibling rivalry began, and I became aware of those other beings in the house that taught me the ways of the world as seen through the eyes of a kid 4 years older. I learned that they usually were not interested in my wel- fare, but were focused on what was good for them. This was an entirely different perspective than what my parents represented. 

I had to learn to defend myself, emotionally and physically, and I learned to laugh, shout, argue, fight, win and lose in the struggle to mark my place in the family unit. 

We didn’t look at those lessons as big things, they were just life. But looking back, I see that those were important relation- ships because of the lessons I learned. Lessons like understand- ing I would not always get my way. That led to compromising, or being battered into submission. I learned that fighting had to have some guidelines, it couldn’t be a free-for-all. There were rules about the right and wrong ways to disagree. Some would call it civility. 

Some families teach the concept of peaceful negotiation: bargaining, finding a middle ground, practicing the give and take of a situation. Other families resolve issues with brute force: who is the biggest, who has a bigger stick, who can bribe or manipulate better. Then there are family units that avoid con- flict all together by ignoring whatever elephant is in the room at any given time. If we don’t talk about it, it will go away. 

No doubt all families practice a combination of these styles, with the hope that a solution will be determined in some way. 

The current political chaos that exists in our nation’s capital is similar to families: often dysfunctional, rarely successful, seldom 100% agreed upon, never universally accepted. 

But, we remain a family; fighting, cajoling, arguing, maneu- vering, negotiating, playing fairly or not, laughing, playing, and connecting. I just wish someone would remind that family there are rules to these disagreements, and we will all win and lose on various issues. That’s life. 

Alas, this family may not have responsible parents who can get all the kids to a place of negotiation, without first beating them about the head and body! 


6 thoughts on “Families

  1. Our government family right now is perhaps the most dysfunctional of all. Negotiating to a solution seems to be a thing of the past, as is reason and logic.


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