Families can change

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Friday

I love families no matter how complex, and all are.

No exceptions!

After many years of being in a family and consulting with families here are a few enduring truths:

• Faith, language, culture, nationality, wealth or poverty, educated or uneducated, make very little difference in how people love and hurt each other. Jealousy is jealousy, selfishness is selfishness. Brave love is brave love and forgiveness is powerful no matter where or who you are.

• Themes repeat in families despite loving efforts to avoid negative generational patterns. An ignored problem does not disappear. It will go into hiding, brew, and emerge into something more pernicious than when initially denied. But, change, real change, is possible. Authentic change comes at a cost that is well worth it. Nonetheless, there will always be some family members who resist it. Bank on it.

• Keys to family change are held by any family members who are willing to risk everything in pursuit of individual emotional health. Those who are determined to remain “connected” to family while simultaneously refusing to be sucked into the family issues are the ones who are most empowered to bring lasting change.

• All growth and change, even when planned and desired, will involve grief, and loss, and will require the courage to move into new, unknown territory. “Unknown”? Yes, if “growth” leads you into what you planned or attempted to control, it’s probably not real growth.

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