Sometimes, the best opportunities to write about things you care about, present themselves at the strangest times. This is one of those times. It is 7:15 on a Saturday morning and I am officially on holidays. Although 7:15 may not seem so early, I have actually been up since 4:45 am to send my husband and married daughter off to see my father-in-law in Northern Ontario.
That’s what got me thinking. The whole idea behind families is to stay connected, stay in touch. Because family, in the end, is really all we have – we rely on each other for so many things at so many stages of our lives. I should mention that the other thing that got me thinking is my six-months pregnant daughter. She is off to see an aging grandparent because it’s important to her that she visits with him – especially because she is expecting – she wants to share this happy event in her life.
But what happens when your family is disconnected? To some extent, we all have dysfunction – but for some, that’s all that exists for their families – the dysfunction is the focal point of their relationships. From generation to generation, these same problems are passed along – the circle never gets broken, the issues and challenges they face are compounded and magnified and success seems to be very elusive. The issues come in many forms and afflict many families – no matter what their perceived status is in the community. Of course we all consider poverty to be at the centre of most dysfunctional families. But serious issues such as domestic violence and addictions can affect a family who, for all intents and purposes, appears ‘normal’. I once saw a quote on Facebook that said, “Be nice to everyone, you just never know what personal demons they are battling.” I think this holds true for families, too.
Families of all kinds (even yours and mine) need help and support to be successful. Staying connected to the proper networks of support can help so many to overcome the personal demons they battle. And for the ‘normal’ families, staying connected to one another helps them to pass along the good things in life. We are all members of a family – and if you think yours is normal, remember that we all have dysfunction in some way or another. But before you offer judgement to a family that appears to be doing a little worse than your own, think about offering your support to help them be a little more successful.
Remember, everyone needs help and everyone can offer help. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to learn even more about living a happy, productive life from my newest grandchild when he or she arrives in November.