Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Ties

Steven and I talk about family a lot . . . because we are one, but also because we are both interested in the different dynamics going on in a variety of families that we know. What makes up a "healthy and happy" family? I KNOW for certain that different families have different definitions for that. But is there a universal definition for healthy family relationships?

I don't know.

I know that growing up I held the family-given motto of "Sister's Come First", meaning above boyfriends, cousins, parents, best friends . . . you took care of your sisters first. I was also extremely attached and dependent on my parents. But now I am married, and I slowly adjusted to my new motto, "Steven comes first." This takes on a lot of new meanings for me. It doesn't just mean that I take care of his needs before I would take care of my friends needs. It means I go to Steven for help before I go to my friends or parents or sisters for help. He is my first thought in any situation (or should be).

Today we talked about some big-worded psychological theory, that I will rename "The Airplane Theory" for this occasion. When you are on an airplane, they tell you if the oxygen masks drop down, adjust yours first. You cannot help your neighbor if you have passed out. So we were talking about how we have to look out for ourselves in order to look out for each other.

All of this sounds neat and all, but what if you can't help yourself? What if your spouse WON'T help you? Or what if they think you are being selfish by looking out for yourself? Then can you bypass those rules and ask other people for help? We didn't come to a conclusion really. But I would still say look out for yourself, and have the strength long enough to find someone qualified to help you do this. You wouldn't take driving lessons from someone who had their license revoked for reckless driving . . . not even to learn from their mistakes. You wouldn't take relationship advice from someone who was currently going through a divorce. You wouldn't take parenting advice from someone who had their kids taken away by DHS. But we so often vent to friends who (with the best of intentions) give us advice . . . but who are probably not qualified to guide us in that situation.

I have rambled for awhile. I guess I have just really learned to value the people out there who study and pay to become qualified to help others in their life's journey.

I hope to be one of these people in a couple of years.

2 comments:

Madfarmer said...

You wrote:
"You wouldn't take driving lessons from someone who had their license revoked for reckless driving . . . not even to learn from their mistakes. You wouldn't take relationship advice from someone who was currently going through a divorce. You wouldn't take parenting advice from someone who had their kids taken away by DHS."

Actually, in some situations, I would. At least I would hear carefully what they were saying. Because we can learn from our own mistakes and maybe more importantly- from other people's mistakes. I think it's possible that the divorced person's marital advice might be MORE insightful than someone who has always been happily married. Perhaps listening to such people will keep us from walking where they have.

What do you think?

love you, k

Kinsey said...

I DO agree with you on that. I should have been more elaborate. I mean in the sense that you are not learning from that person's mistakes - or people who are still too involved in what they struggle with, instead of being far removed and being able to reflect using hindsight.

And you are right - we should carefully hear what people are saying in ANY situation. Everyone has something to teach, and everyone has something to learn.

You are wise. Always have been. Always will be.

Love, Kinsey