Open, closed families

by Rod Smith

Open families

·      Expect, allow, and encourage differences among people.

·      Expect, allow, and encourage necessary space and separation between and among people.

·      Welcome and embrace “outsiders” and place a high value on hospitality.

·      Encourage dialogue and conversations about difficult or taboo topics.

·      Trust, and continue to trust, even though letdowns will be inevitable.

·      Affirm each other without an attached agenda.

·      Anticipate spontaneity and unpredictability.     


Closed families

·      Value uniformity.

·      Emphasize togetherness.

·      Breed suspicion.

·      Control content of conversations with silencing nods and slicing looks.

·      Punish breaches of word or trust and remind others of their former failures.

·      Affirm to teach or to control.

• Plan the fun and the unexpected out of everything. 

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