Tag Archives: family

Holidays? More like holidaze amirite??

Well, folks.  A few days ago was Father’s Day.

Traditionally, Father’s Day is a holiday focused on glorifying one’s father.  Let me tell you why I have a problem with this.

In the United States, for almost every holiday, we use family as a rallying point.  Think about it: Nearly every holiday (with the exception of “adult” holidays like St. Patrick’s Day or Mardi Gras) revolve around family, in its marketing and in its promotion.

But what if you didn’t have a family?

I have a family, but I don’t.  If that makes sense.  I have a family in the traditional sense, but I grew up in a broken home around rampant drug abuse and often untreated mental illness.  This environment I grew up in has made me all the more appreciative for a relatively mundane home life.  One that doesn’t result in random blowups or  the late night visits from intoxicated family members.

Father’s Day and holidays of its ilk twist at a thorn in my side.  It is a thorn that will likely never go away.  It is also one that gets worse through the use of social media, which I sometimes feel digs that thorn even deeper.

At the same time, it’s something I’ve tried to use as a strength, providing courage and advice where I can to those who have faced (or are facing) similar circumstances.  Going off the fantastic book “Leading With a Limp” (among others) and through my increased faith in a higher power, I’ve found we can use our weaknesses and those wounds that simply won’t heal as strengths to help others.

Instead of using holidays to glorify and cherish that which we care about, why can’t it be a standard?  Rather than New Year’s Resolutions or “diets”, why not adopt a new lifestyle?

This focus on a single day or week (or month) to appreciate that which we have is a larger issue.  It is also one that is truly disquieting for this blogger, particularly when it comes to the holiday season.

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The Family is Blood: The Harmful Concept of Family in the United States (And Elsewhere)

On this Valentine’s Day, let me pose a provocative question:  What is family?

The past couple of years, I have greatly considered what the concept entailed.  Speaking on biological terms, family is a group of individuals connected on a genetic level; simply, a nuclear family.  However, this definition is in turns inaccurate and insensitive to those who have been adopted by others or live in a “nontraditional” family.

Leave it to Beaver Family

leaveittobeaver.org

Further, the idea that family can’t be questioned or criticized –no matter what–is prevalent in many households.  It is also an idea I was raised with.  And it can be an exceedingly harmful one.

I was raised with the idea that family came first; the family is blood.  In other words, if a family member was hurting, we should support and prop them up.  On the surface, this is completely sensible ideal to possess.  But what if family is harmful?  What if family does something that simply cannot be supported and must be called out, rather that supported?

In order to effectively love each other, we need to criticize and accept criticism, at the same time being able to discern when said guidance or criticism is harmful.

This is an extremely tough balance to strike.  Here, loving others effectively without harming requires a delicate touch.  An effective image is the idea of resetting a bone in order to effectively heal someone’s body.  Sometimes we have to be honest and wound someone  in order to effectively heal.

Further, looking at oneself in the mirror and accepting failure is an extremely hard concept to consider.  We must be honest with ourselves before we are honest with others.  This requires self-reflection, an act that is often neglected in the generally extroverted culture of the United States.

If we want to love each other, be direct, be truthful, and be supportive.  In a healthy way.


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