Archive for April, 2023

April 30, 2023


by Rod Smith

A flow chart or diagram of a person’s family of origin and extended family — usually three generations although people often invest more time and energy and “go back” another two or three generations.

There are many symbols and distinctive markings people use and each practitioner usually develops his or her own style.


Getting required information from your family may be a challenge and an exercise in healing in itself.

Creating a Genogram is an on-going exercise and it will change as a family changes with births, deaths, marriages, and divorces.

People can and do “defy” the predictions that reveal themselves (addictions, unwanted patterns, cut-offs, fusions) in a Genogram but are unlikely to do so without a committed plan toward greater individual health.

Calm or chaos in one generation is likely to “flow through” the system.

April 30, 2023


by Rod Smith

Monday / Family Systems 

MAY 1, 2023


  • A “new” way of thinking – well, not really. There are many ways in which you are already a seasoned and expert in systemic thinking. Do you drive? Ever thought of how complex an International Airport is?
  • Linear Thinking or Systemic Thinking 
  • Non-Living Systems / Living Systems / The Body of Christ. 1Co 12:12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.


  • Time to focus on SELF and to get focus off OTHERS – you are a PERSON – become an expert in YOUR behavior, The People you love will probably survive without your intense focus but they might sizzle (or fry) from it.  
  • Jesus had a thorough self-knowledge and understood His relationships and was never taken off guard by others. Jesus Perfected the art of DIFFERENTIATION OF SELF – engage the life-long process to do the same.  


  • Family or Origin – size and position matters.
  • You are part of a NETWORK of RELATIONSHIPS – it is called a FAMILY and you are part of a GET to know  yourself WITHIN that system.
  • Why I love Bowen Theory and Family Systems  – there are at least 5 reasons, maybe more.

Your DAY 1 challenges:

  • Name relationships where you could do with more space (freedom, room to move) – be careful now.
  • Name relationships where you could do with more intimacy, more feedback, closeness– be careful now. 
  • Name the people whose behavior you are an expert in at the expense of focusing on your behavior. 
  • Has anything taught today caused you to experience some pain or sadness – are you willing to name those areas to someone important to you?      

I am I

You are You

We are We

Let Us not ConFuse

The Three

April 30, 2023

Let some things become “second nature” to you

by Rod Smith

Things to practice until they become second nature and are identified with how others expect you to behave:

Show up, stand up, and speak up for yourself. Suggest, when necessary, that it be rare for others (all others) to have to do very much of any of the three for you. When others try (and they will) politely suggest that you can handle things about yourself, for yourself. If you are called rude or selfish – because you want to take care of yourself and you are able to do so –  point out that expecting others to prop up your life or manage you or be your voice for you, is surely the epitome of selfishness.

Refuse to engage in gossip or “dark” talk about others even if it may be true and spicy and hot off the press. Be above demeaning others as attractive as it may be to some. You are too busy achieving your goals and becoming who you want to become to participate in taking another down or wallowing in another’s troubles.

Train your eye to see goodness and your tongue to report it. Make this a daily habit and you will be inundated with beauty and kindness as your eyes lead you to more and more beauty and as you spread goodness in your wake. Way leads to way, and beauty to beauty.

April 29, 2023

Calm down

by Rod Smith

What will it take for you to calm down and be less anxious? 

Your answer will almost certainly include another person or something from outside of yourself if you are given to anxiety.  

“I’ll calm down when he gets a job.” 

“I’ll calm down when his ex-wife is out of our lives.” 

“I will calm down when the house repairs are complete.” 

The minute we loop others in and believe their behaviors are the reason we are anxious, our anxious state will be at their mercy. 

I’d suggest you can calm yourself down even if he never gets a job or his ex wife never stops interfering and if the house repairs take another five years.. 

The keys to calmness, to reducing anxiety, are within our grasp and not in the hands of others. 

Rise above yourself. 

Get a “bird’s eye” view of your life. 

Become an expert in your behaviors. 

Look at how and why you choose to do the things you do and make necessary changes even if they displease others. 

These are vital steps in modifying your behavior and in reducing your anxiety and therefore calming down.

Calming down is a life-long process, a life-style of self-management, of assuming personal responsibility for who and what we are. 

You will wait forever if you wait for others to do what you alone can only do for yourself.

April 26, 2023


by Rod Smith

Suggestions for “Never Agains”

Use another or others for undisclosed ends, the seed at the heart of maniputlation and dishonesty. 

Use personal power, minimal or vast, to ends for which it is neither awarded nor intended, the essence of intimidation and arrogance. 

Use guilt, punishment, exclusion, to get or keep another or others in order or under control, the height of domination and darkness. 

Speak ill of absent others anf those who cannot self-defend or offer explaination, especially if the sentiments are not first expressed directly face-to-face to the subject or subjects of negative talk, the mark of cowardice.

Blame another or others for things or outcomes and deflect responsibility, be it through avoidance or complicity, an indication of authentic immaturity.

Fall for, be seduced by a “single story” — a partial truth, accepting incomplete understanding of context, ignoring the idea or possibility there may be more to learn or to understand about a circumstance — and acting upon it. This is to be uneducated and willing to remain so.

Succumb to “othering” and prejudice, to exclude others no matter who they are or what may be said or believed about them. This is the bull’s eye of entitlement and damaging, alienating pride, and even more prideful and damaging if perpetuated in the name of faith or of God.

April 25, 2023

What does love look like….?

by Rod Smith

Love is seeking another person’s highest good, every time, day in and day out. It’s holding nothing back if it’s in the highest interests of whomever you love. 

Love is being willing to be unpopular because some truth is tough to hear and receive. It is being willing to be corrected by the people you love when they think you are wrong or need correction. 

Love is finding legitimate ways to earn the extra money needed to protect and educate and serve the people whom you love. 

Love is thousands of loads of laundry for the baby and then toddler and a young boy or girl and then it’s  teaching young  teenager to do his own.

Love is dealing with men and women who will tell you you are a bad parent for not giving rules and not checking phones or monitoring teenage behavior as if your teenage son or daughter cannot be trusted to exercise good judgment. Their unsolicited scoldings clearly mean they do not trust themselves or their own children.

Love is being committed to telling you the truth as lovingly and as efficiently as possibly. 

Love is learning to love and embrace and fully accept the people whom your loved ones love.

April 24, 2023

What will it take?

by Rod Smith

What will it take for you to tell your story? 

By “your story” I mean your unabridged, unedited story, the meanderings of your life, the whole truth, not only the shiny parts. 

If we are at all similar and we probably are, you may have noticed our propensity to play the well-worn tracks, the golden-oldies, we speak of those areas of our lives and they come out well-rehearsed, cute lines, anecdotes that flow with ease, often with intent to impress. With these areas of our lives we are seasoned raconteurs. 

What will it take for you and I to unblock the blocked, dislodge darker areas, give the hidden areas of our lives a little light? 

When we give these parts a little airtime, allow ourselves and others to know us at deeper, unrehearsed levels, it usually – if we are careful about whom we choose as an audience – gives the opportunity to be known a little deeper and to discover something new about ourselves.

“Out of the mouths of babes,” usually refers to something cute and endearing from children. 

Out of the mouths of adults, the unrehearsed and previously unsaid, can be painful to admit and hear, but it may bring greater redemption and healing for both speaker and the carefully selected listeners.

April 22, 2023

Monday’s are for ……

by Rod Smith

Mondays are re-set days, days to plan the week (unless that’s a Sunday evening activity for you). Monday’s are days to plan for what’s left of the month, or to make a blueprint for the rest of your life. It’s blue-sky Monday, not “blue-Monday”, a term I’ve thankfully not heard in years. 

Before you get to planning try to take care of some foundational issues. 

Clear your head and heart of lingering resentments or unforgiveness — plans made on top of foundations of bitterness are sure to backfire and be costly to much more your wallet.

Make right with people in your immediate and extended family — plans made while in conflict or dissention are likely to crash into barriers of invisible loyalties and burn you up on the inside. 

Relax and breath deeply before you begin your planning — futures  developed in anxiety and desperation will hardly lead to a peaceful future, be it for the week or forever.

Plan your way out of debt, first — nothing will be a more perfect barrier to achieving your hopes and dreams than trying to pay off maxed out credit cards. 

Be assured that your plans may indeed not come to full and planned fruition but if no plan exists, and you plan nothing, you’re most certainly sure to achieve it.

April 22, 2023

Monkey’s Wedding

by Rod Smith

When you are feeling overwhelmed, crowded out by responsibilities, sad, and yet motivated, and bombarded with “monkey’s weddings” (explanation to come), there are a few things you can do. I make lists of all I have to do. If you see me making pencil columns on paper listing all I have to do you know I am getting close to desperate.

But, let me get a “monkey’s wedding.” 

Perhaps I have taken the metaphor to unintended depth but when a South African uses the term “monkey’s wedding” it means it’s raining and the sun is shining. Something very beautiful is occurring when it is also inextricably linked to something sad. 

A young child read Psalm 23 yesterday to hundreds of people. 

It was perhaps the most beautiful reading I have ever heard of that psalm. 

The boy needed no help or prompting and the child – about 7 or 8 years old – displayed no sign of nervousness as his dad stood behind him at the pulpit. 

The child was reading the psalm at his beloved grandmother’s funeral. 

A perfect “monkey’s wedding.” 

I am driving my son to New York City this weekend where he will settle into his new and wonderful life.

Please use the term in your own life if you are hearing it now for the first time.  

April 21, 2023

Getting real

by Rod Smith
Getting Thulani to New York