Family synergy

Family = two+ people who share goals and values, are committed to one another and (mostly) stay under the same roof. 

It is the strangest thing that what we often yearn for the most, ends up being the most intensely rewarding, challenging, frustrating and painful of all rolled into one? ‘Family’ falls into that category for most people, because close relationships are more like adventures and less like plain sailing. 

Families are made of two parents and their children living together as a unit; or friends can be your family; or pets can be your family. You can be part of a core family, and extended family with relatives being part of the core family, or a single-parent family. When a family includes more than one person, things get tricky because people are not the same. 

Some family members are logical and eloquent while others are creative dreamers who feel-more-think-less. This may cause conflict. Wants and needs differ – some value togetherness but crave me-time, while others need to be buzzing together 24/7. This may cause conflict. 

People are shaped by the way they were brought up and if one ate meals as a family around a table, while TV dinners on demand worked well for the other, this may cause conflict. And so can family expectations differ especially when the one was raised in a family with traditional male / female roles where the man earns and the woman takes care, while the other was raised in a single parent family where you got up and go.

With all these difference it is a miracle when things work. But let’s be real, if families never disagree, someone isn’t being honest. 

Joshua Hathaway says many families are struggling every day behind closed doors, and most of them feel incredibly isolated and alone. The worst part is that this sense of isolation can give rise to shame, hopelessness, and resistance to seeking support. 

In contrast to the painful side of family life, magic happens when families find synergy, and everyone in the family gives and finds the support they need to thrive.

Synergy is the magic that happens when one plus one equals three-or more - Stephen R. Covey 

Family synergy is born when:

  • There is mutual respect irrespective of age.
  • There is room for own time and shared time.
  • Time is invested in connecting with each other every day - even if it is a few seconds per day.
  • Projects are planned and done together.
  • Differences are celebrated, not tolerated.
  • Conflict is an opportunity to learn about problem solving. 
  • Pain is shared not shunned.

Marianne E. Neifert sums it ups when she says family is both the fundamental unit of society as well as the root of culture. Family synergy is the perpetual source of encouragement, advocacy, assurance, and emotional refuelling that empowers a child and parent alike, to venture with confidence into the greater world to become all that s/he can be.

You might also want to read this article on Top dog - Under dog.

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