Friday, August 05, 2005

The Old Fashioned Way

Maybe it is time to write a book on family values.
It is the next one to come, when I complete the two on healing.
Family values begin with valuing families.

How do we value our own family, if we are criticizing, ignoring, neglecting or avoiding our own family?
How do we value families if we ship our parents and grandparents to nursing homes and senior housing?
How do we value families if we no longer have family meal time?
How do we value families if we trade-in our husbands, when the going gets tough?
How do we value families if we don't give women equal rights and equal wages and equal respect?
How do we value families if we are discourteous to our family members and friends?
How do we value our families if we spend money instead of time?
How do we value families if we don't support families with health care and jobs that care about families?
How do we value our families if we talk on the phone when we could be talking with them?
How do we value families when work and money come before recreation and fun together?
How do we value families if our entertainment is watching a big screen together rather than interacting?
How do we value families if we are making ourselves beautiful rather than our relationships meaningful?

What can we do?

We can talk to one another without swearing, or criticizing.
We can always remember to say "Please" and "Thank you" even to infants.
We can sit down at the table together once daily.
We can remember that our family came first and will be the last to leave.
We can commit to help one another when there is a need.
We can tell ourselves that it is the community we build that makes us strong and safe and secure.
We can remember that family may be others who are not blood related.
We can build structure, schedule and ritual into family time and shared living.
We can adopt roles and functions that complement and harmonize rather than compete and conflict.
We can take back the best from the past, rather than throwing it all away.
We can connect with family that lives elsewhere often enough that they know we really care.
We can dare to say and demonstrate "I love you" directly and often.
We can say prayers of thanksgiving rather than gossip about what was wrong.
We can remember birthdays and anniversaries and special births and weddings.
We can do all the simple courtesies like RSVP and send thank you notes when receiving a gift.

There is so much more we can do.
We can change our world within our own families.
We can take responsibility for healing, growing and inspiring our families to be all they can be.
We can do it.

Loving you, Betty Lue