Sunday, May 10, 2009


Well, you know when you're young,
There's such a distance between you and your family.
Just can't see things from the same point of view.
- Bruce Springsteen (Family Song)

There's a Chinese proverb: "When the family is harmonious, everything prospers." Your family is your home base. Your source of strength and support. If there is dissent in the home, it will spill over into other areas of your life. And make no mistake. There is always, inevitably, some form of dissent in the home.

The Tao Te Ching doesn't specifically address family issues, but it does offer advice on governing nations and leading armies (and isn't that what being in a family is sometimes like?).

The main lesson? Don't rule with an iron fist. Allow the members of your tribe to grow in their own way. Guide but don't force. Caution but don't prohibit. Recognize that every family member is a unique human being with their own individual perspective and celebrate that.

Also, remember that a family is not a stagnant entitiy. It's an organic, ever-changing living organism. As children (or parents) grow and relationships change, the family dynamic should also shift and morph. Like water moving from a tall vase to a large, flat bowl. Same water, different shape.

You have to be able to open and adaptable to these changes - mainly because you can't do a thing about them.

And remember, harmony isn't produced by everyone singing the exact same notes, it comes from different notes complimenting each other.

Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
And the world will govern itself. (v. 57)

1 comment:

  1. My wife & I have found a great method for maintaining good family chemistry -- no kids and we stay away from the in-laws too. ;D)