Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Path of Family

These are some notes for my Sunday talk at Unity.
 You can listen to my talk at www.inspiredlivingcenter.org under Past Talks.

The Path of Family

Some follow the inspiring Path of service, some the Path of householder, some the Path of Self realization and path of Achievement  and so on.
To each their own.
When family is our path, we live it with devotion, with dedication to excellence, with commitment to the way of Love, Trust and Freedom.
Yes, each of us has our own path.
Whether building families, community, teams, institutions, or our own self actualization, we each have a way we are called to follow.

What is your way? 
The way of family is the way of relationships.
The way of family is building the highest ideals within all our relationships through healing and service.
The way of family is choosing to heal our relationships with humanity through our family relationships.

How do You lead?
Are you authoritative?  
Leading demanding, controlling and choosing for others.
Are you permissive or laissez faire? 
Allowing and freeing everyone to grow in their own way without interference.
Are you democratic?
Listening, discussing, honoring the individuals’ rights if not interfering with others.

When we are committed to family, we need a vision, an ideal, a picture.
When honoring the path of the family, we need a strategy, principles and a plan.
When building successful family relationship, we need some guidelines to follow.
When choosing to create successful relationships, we must do what is highly effective.

We need role models of what works and what doesn’t work.
We must understand differences in communication styles, decision-making skills, conflict resolution, space considerations and privacy needs,  lifestyle preferences, ways to apologize and make amends, ways to show love and ways we express fears.
All the differences show up in intimate or familial relationships.  
What is dysfunctional or unhealthy shows up as well as what is functional, useful and healing.

How do you handle differences?
How tolerant are you of age and education differences, weight differences, beauty differences? 
How do you deal with values and behavioral differences?
How do you feel about people who interrogate and ask endless questions or talk all the time, and those who are silent, observant and even withdrawn. 
How do you deal with those who blame, criticize, demand  and threaten,
How about whiners and complainers? 
How about picky eaters and those who eat everything?  
How do you handle sexual differences, religious differences, those who are prejudiced and bigoted?

Often we pretend to walk in love, but stay away from those we judge, hate or fear.
Often we say we are accepting and love all our brothers, but avoid those who smell bad or sound crude or are drunk or sick.  
Often we judge those who bully and abuse others with words, finances, or physical acts of violence.

But where do we begin and end this path of family?
Can we really accept everyone as a child of God, as part of our human family?
Can we see the Good within and bring it forth?
Can we trust our brothers who are One with us?
Can we be like Jesus and walk and eat with those who are lepers, and tax collectors and rabbis and prostitutes and criminals?
Can we live as the Buddha allowing all suffering to be our suffering?
Can we learn to live with non violent thoughts, words and behavior as Ghandi?
Can we have compassion for everyone as we join the family of humanity?

What shaped my tolerance, acceptance, compassion and understanding of difference?
I remember the Dickerson family and our family reunions.
I remember the Life magazine and the photographs of the Family of Man.
I remember my American Field Service brothers and sisters from Guatemala, Brazil, Germany, Sweden and Indonesia and all those others who can later to stay with my parents.
I remember that my parents stayed in the home of people in their travels to 85 countries while in their retirement years.

My parents’ calling was to build community, to promote peace through understanding.
Their path was the path of family.
Whether working in mental hospitals or with children, in emergency rooms or with those starting to build small business, those who were illiterate or needing financial counseling, my folks always served to build healing and helpful relationships. Everywhere with everyone.

I felt like I was part of their team, like we were doing it together and so as a Girl Scout for 20 years or as a volunteer from the time I was an infant, I had diverse experiences which helped me realize my calling to inspire everyone to be their best and to help themselves.

Our work  through Reunion Ministries or Unity, or as grandparents, continues to be living in integrity with the highest ideals of reminding all children to be able to respond with love and respect the needs of others, beginning within our families.

Building relationships requires: 
Teaching by example. 
Staying conscious of what the real and most effect call for help and healing. 
Honoring the unique needs of each individual. 
Respecting everyone for being who they are. 
Being totally responsible for all my thoughts, words and activities,
Joining, harmonizing and cooperating with what is the highest ideal for each one.

You are making a difference in the family of humanity when you choose to forgive all our errors, sins and mistakes of omission or commission.

You are making a difference when you choose again for the path of Love, Trust and Freedom for all.
Bless us all everyone as the One sharing Goodness for All.
Betty Lue