The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable.

~ Paul Tillich ~

Family Life

October 19th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 1 sec

Family isn’t as neat as it seems.

Family is messy. Despite all the charming situation comedies, and hackneyed imagery of families, domestic bliss typically… isn’t.

Portrayals of perpetual household harmony are unrealistic. Things happen. People have moods, and misunderstandings frequently spell chaos in even the most solid family homes.

Then there are those minor mishaps some call disasters. Like when your cat gets inadvertently locked in your parked car overnight, shredding every piece of padded upholstery to bits. Or, when your adorable pet decides that it’s perfectly okay to squat their dot on your carpet and do something in front of your guests that you’d rather not watch. That’s family life.

Those hurtful arguments that boil over between parents and teens aren’t  “wrong” in the sense they are part of most everyone’s experience. Nor are the countless plates dropped, bowls cracked, and glasses spilt. Together with tracked in mud, towels strewn across wet bathroom floors, and the thieving of refrigerated treats, they’re simply signs that a family is in residence.

In a sense, it’s bad and good all rolled together. Not much fun at the time. But full of mellow nostalgia after the fact. Family life, for all its failings, is a good thing. It’s where we learn from each other and grow in the process; at a pace matching how quickly we get over our pain.

It’s hard to laugh when you have to be tough, or when someone lets your expectations down. Life can be downright hard within the family cradle. Yet, difficult as it is, to date, there’s nothing better.

True, sometimes the grass really is greener in someone else’s backyard. But not often. Benefits are a swings and roundabouts affair. More discipline, less freedom. More privileges, more responsibility. If family teaches us anything, it’s that life is not based on our convenience.

While everybody’s experience of family is unique, all families fit somewhere on a spectrum. At one end, a meager few families are almost angelic. At the other, the mix is devilish. But for the vast majority of people, our families fit somewhere in between.

Childhood memories of delightful times, love, and laughter show family at its best. But then, so does pulling through terrible times together. With the help of relatives, we can accomplish so much more and know the potent sense of togetherness that even our sincerest words stumble to express.

But whether we explore and grow, or get stuck in resentments and brutality, family offers us a start. By picking all the best and letting go of the rest, even many a so-called dysfunctional family has its benefits.

Yet, the better we can make it, the more family life can offer. Although by rights a group experience, what we do and conclude about our family is, ultimately, the most important understanding of all.

Fancy A Royal Family Wedding?

Family And You

What’s Your Family Like?



Comments are closed.