It is the holiday season and what better time to celebrate family especially in a year where many people have lost family members, can’t touch their family members and have no idea when next they’d see each other.
Family, the one we are born into or choose, is important.
So for this month’s theme, we are celebrating family for all its good, bad, quirkiness, and disfunction.
Tool: Allowing differences to complement rather than combat
I should probably preface that “tool” with a caveat. I’m absolutely NOT recommending that you accept things that are destructive, toxic, manipulative, harmful, or detrimental. In those cases, you should not simply accept the qualities or ideas a family member exhibits that require attention (via conversation, discernment, therapy, or distance) or boundaries.
Back on topic — What I AM referring to are differences that are just that — different! We all have variations in the ways we view and approach life. Our differences may stem from varying experiences: exposure, age, culture, gender, race, personality, worldview, etc. Within any family or group (blood or chosen), the ability to learn how to make room for our differences with respect and consideration for each other’s perspective is important.
Just like the parts of our bodies have their different functions, we need to learn to see how differences (in body parts and family members alike) are actually vital for an optimal life. Understanding and listening to the different perspective or approach of others can help us be better as a whole. Otherwise, we’ll divide instead of unite; tear apart instead of blend together, and suppress each other into a “fake/forced unity” that eventually doesn’t ever leave us with God’s best version of our collective (blood or chosen) family. I think we break, weaken, or kill the family we’re meant to have (and our own quality of life really) when we don’t utilize this tool often.
Truth is, life is better with diversity — but that truth only shines when we humble ourselves to see differences as…