Our Unique Family
You would think that one would have to be both confident and experienced to take on the challenge of writing about family functionality, yet I’ve always been very honest about how much dysfunction there is in our day to day lives over at my house. In my younger parenting days, I would have had a dozen excuses for why we encountered so many challenges, especially in the area of parenting our children; however, these days, I’m mature enough to see that the root of most of our family conflicts revolves around the fact that we all have been born with a different inborn sin nature. Yes, we are all typically good people, but there exists an undercurrent of dysfunction in almost every family. At least that has been my experience in talking with so many others about our family struggles – people can always identify in some way. How do people cope with this? Usually they try to hide it and ignore it (hope the neighbors don’t find out about it!). Not me, I like to talk (and write) about it.
Typically, when I discuss the challenges and struggles we are facing in my home, I get one of two reactions. The first is something like, “Wow, I have no idea what that must be like. That sounds crazy.” The other is, “Wow, it’s so refreshing to hear someone speak so honestly about ….” And that’s me in a nut shell. I am brutally honest (that may be the New Yorker in me). I am unconcerned about what other people think of me; I don’t live my life to impress other people. I try my best to live my life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Some days – okay, MANY days, I fall far short of that goal. Never do I let that deter me. I am relentless, passionate, and determined in so many ways. If I believe something is right, I will not back down – no matter what! Always, I press on. In most ways that has served me well over the years.
My husband is, for the most part, contemplative and methodical in his approach to life. He exists in contrast to myself. I tend to make split decisions (thankfully they are typically well-reasoned decisions) about what to do next and act upon them immediately. There is an urgency to everything I either need to do or want done, which drives my children crazy. I’ll tell them four things in a row to accomplish, and then before they have barely comprehended what I just told them, I’m already wondering why the first item from my verbal list is not done. Often the answer is, “Because I stayed here to listen to you, so I haven’t had a chance to do it yet.” Oh, okay. Well, carry on then!
My three girls – they are beautiful, and different, and funny. I love them fiercely! I want so much to help them grow up well. Sometimes, they feel like there is no pleasing me. That is certainly true in particular for my oldest daughter. Her nature is opposite to my own in virtually every aspect, and as a result, we have had a tough time working out our differences. She would be the first person to tell you that I am difficult to live with. And I would say her own personality and behavior have exacerbated me to the point of making that so. But we are family. We love each other in the best way we know how. We have always needed a lot of grace, mercy, and forgiveness towards one another in our home. I think that is true of many people raising teenagers.
I know that in sharing excerpts and experiences from my life, people will inevitably pass judgement on my family and me. Truly, dear reader, try to resist this temptation. There are no perfect people around my home, as is true for yours as well. It’s so easy to look at a situation with a rational and cool head from an outside perspective and “think” you know how you would have handled it at the time, or “think” you know what you would have said. In my experience, the people who are the most “helpful” in this regard often have no EARTHLY IDEA what they are talking about. Their advice doesn’t come from experience, but by hypothesis. Whatever you feel in response to what I’m sharing – you agree, disagree, relate, sympathize, empathize – I can take it, but please do so respectfully. I don’t mind people giving input about what I have to say, but I won’t tolerate abusive and destructive comments on my site. If you respond in a hostile way, I will surely delete your comments. Thank you in advance for understanding.