“Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds, they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material.”
Why can’t we all just get along?
People have been warring since the beginning of time. Tribes. Religious sects. Nations.
And, yes, families.
As I said a few days back, “It all begins and ends with Family.” How can we expect nations to coexist in peace and harmony when many of us can’t even manage to keep our families intact?
There are so many stressors that lead to family conflict: financial problems, joblessness, addiction, illness, death, inheritance and even something as basic as incompatible and/or strong personalities. It is healthy and normal to argue, debate and occasionally fight. It is unhealthy and hateful to harm others – physically, emotionally, in their business and their reputation within society.
Problems rarely, if ever, solve themselves. Resolution (to problems) usually requires compromise, which inevitably results in loss (i.e. giving something up, to keep the peace). If there is love, respect and a willingness to work through the conflict – because of a deep-seated desire to keep the family together – then there is hope. Sometimes an outside mediator, such as a therapist, counsellor or spiritual guide (i.e. priest/minister/rabbi/imam) may be needed to assist with the process of resolution and reconciliation. Hopefully, the conflict gets resolved… without too much collateral damage.
“Problems are like washing machines. They twist us, spin us and knock us around but in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before.”
But what if we can’t all just get along? Not now. Not ever. It happens all the time. Parents divorce. Children leave home for good, pledging never to return. Siblings each go their own way, losing all communication with each other. Family members become estranged. It’s sad, even tragic, when that happens.
I don’t have any answers. What I do know for sure is that family is fundamental to our well-being. That said, for family to coexist as a united and loving unit… each and every family member must want it to be so. Some people need time, space and distance to gain perspective and eventually reunite.
Alas, there are some families so fractured that they are beyond the olive branch.
And everyone moves on – each going his/her separate way.
Sometimes it’s for the better.
“Sometimes problems don’t require a solution to solve them; instead they require maturity to outgrow them.”
Some Book Recommendations:
Peace Catalysts: Resolving Conflict in Our Families, Organizations and Communities – by Rick Love
Mom Always Liked You Best: A Guide for Resolving Family Feuds, Inheritance Battles & Eldercare Crises – Arline Kardasis and Rikk Larsen
*Note: The title of today’s Blog – “Beyond the olive branch” – is the title of Volume 4 in my Baby Boomer Series™ of books (in progress
Photo via Wikimedia Commons