At some point over the holiday break, our family sat down and had a family meeting. We were working on resolving some ongoing conflicts, adjusting some attitudes (mine included), and reestablishing family boundaries and expectations. In a family of our size, things can get off kilter pretty quickly and unless you regularly keep a gauge on it you can find yourself mopping up relational messes. We were in that place, a few busy months of work combined with the holidays and kids moving in different directions had compounded and threatened to explode into damaged relationships, hurt feelings and general unpleasantness.
We sat down in the living room and opened the floor for discussion. Things like, “….not enough time as a family…,” “choosing one sister over another….,” “…always talking about me behind my back…,” “…feeling left out….,” “….being dishonoring….,” and more. The conversation wasn’t about everyone griping about one another, rather it was about getting it out in the open and being heard. It wasn’t easy, we needed to navigate a few mud puddles, but everyone felt heard, valued and together.
In the end, Steve and I shared with our girls the key thing we felt they should walk away with from this conversation. We are a team. Our family is more than just a random combination of personalities and people – we are a team – working together for a common goal – unity and love. Here are just a few points that we shared…… as a team…
We show up. We’re there in important times, join in conversation and spend time with one another. All of our children are adults and many now live outside of the house or our gone a lot for work, etc. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t put effort into being around for important things, and if you can’t make it, you can call. We’re there for one another – always.
We contribute. We do our part – around the house, in relationship and in life. No one is more important than anyone else and a healthy team needs everyone to work to their own strengths and do their job well. If your job is doing the dishes, do them well. If it’s a promise to take a sister somewhere, be on time and follow through.
We work out. Relationships are hard work and effort. But we aren’t afraid to invest, even when it’s difficult. Sometimes an investment is a cup of coffee, sometimes its having a hard conversation, other times it’s just sitting silently together reading. We work out our relational difficulties and make time for relational improvements.
We cheer. We celebrate and encourage each other. Everyone needs cheerleaders in life and that’s what family should be – your greatest cheerleader. If something is going right, as a family we should celebrate one another. And, when we’re going through a difficult time, our team is there to cheer us on and encourage us.
We lose together. Things aren’t always going to be perfect and we are all going to make mistakes, but we are still a team and have one another’s back. If we can be there for one another, even when we fail, that’s a strength which will hold us together for life.
We win together. When we love each other, we win. When we support one another, we win. When we talk things out, we win. When we win, we win together. That’s what family does.
We are a team. Each member of our team is important and we need each other. There are going to be times in life when nothing is going your way but you know you have your team – your family – to support you, encourage you and run to your side to comfort you.
We are a family. We are a team.