Friday, July 15, 2011

DAY 285 - A Family Plan

Through the ages, families have commonly found themselves fractured; members at odds and out of touch with one another.

While telecoms now offer “family plans”; a cell phone for every member, suggesting that through wireless signals we will be, and feel connected, one need not be a marriage and family therapist to know that American families need plans with much greater connectivity than what these offer.

Great emotional suffering arising from falling-outs among members is a staple of family dynamics. Few escape, yet not once have I heard of a plan created and utilized by a family to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of mutual care and connection for its members.

I don’t know of a family that has not suffered. Mine surely has.

Most people appear to believe that feuding among family members is inevitable; comes with the territory; grin and bear it, or make a residential move equivalent to Fort Lauderdale to Juno. Another interrupter is a common belief that a member or members are hopelessly impossible to deal with.

My family has not adopted a plan. I doubt that the majority of the adults have considered the need for or value of a plan.

For years I have given thought to this issue, and in my view, the process, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), is a gentle and powerful framework that could seamlessly serve as a family’s plan for creating and maintaining the closeness that we all want.

Core beliefs of NVC include:
-each person is inherently good and wants to live in harmony with others,
-fear or unease causes us to behave in unharmonious ways,
-careful and respectful listening is powerful and eases fears,
-attempted communication while in a state of distress is apt to do harm to others and to relationships,
-communication while in a state of calm and compassion, engenders trust and cooperation.

As done with marriages and world peace, we can keep on using the old, tried-and-failed approach of giving things our best, well-meaning attempt, and then settle for failure, or we could begin making family plans.


  1. Well said! No need to add a single thought!

  2. Jean,
    I am sorry that your comment slipped by me, and I did not respond to you. Thank you! We seem to be attracted to many of the same topics/issues.