Page 10 - Peace-Centered Family

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my friends’ parents didn’t. I was happy. Why weren’t they? Every night,
when I knelt beside my bed and said my prayers, I waited for an answer
to my question but one never came.
All I ever knew for sure was that my family had gotten lost around
the time the war came and we’d hurriedly left our home in the
Philippines. [We were Americans who had been living in Asia for four
generations.] I knew because before we fled, my life had been happy and
after that there was a lot of pain. Looking back, I realize that’s when the
dysfunction in our family set in. It had sneaked up on me when I wasn’t
looking.
That’s what happens in so many of our families. We don’t expect
that one day we’re going to wake up and suddenly everything is changed.
Off balance. Yet it’s not necessarily the change itself [moving, a divorce,
a death, etc.] that throws families off balance. Getting lost has more to
do with
not being able to withstand change.
And this only occurs when
the family is not structurally sound to begin with. It’s like living in earth-
quake country. A house made of wood can sustain the jolt of an earth-
quake better than a house made of stone. Wood gives a little. Stone does-
n’t. Just as earthquakes are erratic, tumbling one house and sparing
another, with families it’s better to be prepared. We have to think ahead
because, in a sense, all families live in earthquake country.
Transitions, both expected and unexpected, are a reality of family
life. All families have to struggle through them. These are the times when
families are most vulnerable, but when transitions bunch up simultane-
ously, such as the uprooting of a whole family due to war and a subse-
quent divorce––which is what happened to my family––it’s even harder
to normalize, to rebalance the system. Not only has the system itself been
totally altered, which is an inevitable consequence of change, but the dys-
function that results strikes at the family’s very foundation.
This book looks at building family systems that can withstand
change––birth, death, marriage, remarriage, divorce, etc.,––and knowing
what to do when your family system is out-of-balance and hurting its
members. Of course transitions are never easy. As with any system, a
family will seek to rebalance itself when shaken by change. But since a
family is a system of many parts, and both parts and whole are affected
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