What makes a strong family?
“How we preserve time for family is one of the most significant issues we face in most cultures.
“At a time when I was…in our law firm, one lawyer explained to me how she always felt like a juggler trying to keep three balls in the air at the same time. One ball was her law practice, one was her marriage, and one was her children. She’d almost given up on time for herself. She was greatly concerned that one of the balls was always on the ground. I suggested we meet as a group and discuss our priorities. We determined that the primary reason we were working was to support our families. We agreed that making more money wasn’t nearly as important as our families, but we recognized that serving our clients to the best of our abilities was essential. The discussion then moved to what we did at work that was not necessary and was inconsistent with having time for family. Was there pressure to spend time in the workplace that was not essential? We decided that our goal would be a family-friendly environment for both women and men. Let us be at the forefront in protecting time for family.” (“Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage,” Quentin L. Cook, LDS General Conference, Oct 2013.)
What makes a strong family? The importance of a strong family narrative is highlighted in the New York Times article on well-researched studies on vital long-term benefits of family history,
“The Stories That Bind Us“:
The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.
“We were blown away,” Dr. Duke said.
And then something unexpected happened. Two months later was Sept. 11. As citizens, Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush were horrified like everyone else, but as psychologists, they knew they had been given a rare opportunity: though the families they studied had not been directly affected by the events, all the children had experienced the same national trauma at the same time. The researchers went back and reassessed the children.
“Once again,” Dr. Duke said, “the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient, meaning they could moderate the effects of stress.”
Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?
“The answers have to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family,” Dr. Duke said.
The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.
Strong narrative, strong family, strong kids. In the world we live in, we are expected to keep more and more balls in the air, with fewer and fewer on the ground. Well do I ask myself: How will I manage it? How will my adult kids and grandkids?
Maybe it’s a matter of Good, Better, Best?
How do YOU preserve time for family, for self?
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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:
- Photo, keeping the balls juggling in the air—womenonthefence.com/2009/11/25/keeping-the-balls-juggling-in-the-air/
- Address, “Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage,” Quentin L. Cook, LDS General Conference, Oct 2013—www .lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/lamentations-of-jeremiah-beware-of-bondage?lang=eng
- Photo, Strength Against The Storm—ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/extreme-weather/miller-text
- Article, “The Stories That Bind Us”, Bruce Feiler, New York Times, 15 Mar 2013—www .nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html
- Address, “Good, Better, Best,” Dallin H. Oaks, LDS General Conference, Oct 2007—www .lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/good-better-best?lang=eng
- Photo, Strength To Manage Floods That Happen In Life—www.cuindependent.com/2013/09/17/photos-cu-independents-coverage-of-the-boulder-flood/46514
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