Ever feel the talk that matters gets short shrift at family reunions? Indeed, ever feel the talk that matters is often lacking in general? And too often food gets to be “the main course topic?” Okay, so this different drummer dreamer has long believed what’s talked about during social meals needs infinitely more concern — and surely for reunions as well, to make a healthful year-round difference. A healthful difference.
Questions Rather Than StatementsOh, the candidates speak a lot about health care — who pays etc, but not about nurturing conversation as preventive medicine and health maintenance. And isn’t nurturing conversation the shared kind, so that no one — the shy and not so easily verbal — is left out? Rhetorical question, but long overdue, I’ve come to believe such queries are more often more acceptable than statements that may go against the cultural grain, There’s an old-timey song that agrees: “It ain’t what you say, it’s the way how you say it, that’s what gets results. ”
Hmmm, but really it’s the thought that counts. I mean, isn’t it the thought that really counts?
Plan to Connect Now about those family reunions, let’s stay with the statements, like planning ways to stay helpfully connected during the long times apart. And yes, some kindred moving closer together should be considered. But scheduling time for phone calls especially, and emails too, is so all-important. And may the conversation always be enough about any hard times and problems. An agenda could help. Don’t say you’re fine when you’re not is a cardinal rule. Of course, share the talk is another cardinal rule. Conference calls also exist, but so needed are the frequent, yes even daily calls, especially for those who may be too much alone or going through some sort of bad time.
It’s Everyone’s Business And yes, lonely and bad times need some sharing at these reunions which are too often just happy talk. And indeed to make this highly unusual group effort more acceptable, recall Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s urgent “save the world” directive to a Harvard graduating class: “Everyone must make everything their business!”
And surely nowhere is it more needed than in these family reunions, and the rule “When you see something, say something.” surely applies. And when someone is saying too little, that may be a sign that something really needs to be shared. Yes, this is all pretty radical talk for these family reunions, but often it couldn’t be more needed. Indeed it couldn’t be more needed in general. The sharing one another’s burdens commandment could use a mighty revival. So no one is left out.
And speaking of left out, how could I forget how those in this time of small and no families must somehow be included in the large intact kind, maybe not in reunions, but in everyday life, And again, those reunions must be the kind that unite all year especially, but not only for those too much on their own. It can be done if enough of us try, and if we see something we say something. And yes, if we make everything our business – make everything our business. It takes a village — all year round.