In the last election this nation voted for change in Washington. Now two years in they see they have gotten change in government and they are horrified because it seems all that is going on is change. The government officials change from day to day, the president changes his views or at least his words from one day to the next, what jobs who should do seem to change and the feeling is chaos and fear. Then we add to that the changes that are going on with our planet, severe storms, great fires, great fluctuations in temperature, seasons that appear to be changing and people are afraid at a very deep unconscious level.
If you look at the television programs you see that the plans are to bring back many of the old family shows. One has already appeared with the return of “Rosanne.” Could it be that we are looking for a place of safety, a supposedly happier time?
Safety lies in the bonds of the home. Today we have allowed our homes to become a
parking lot with all the activities that are supposedly good for our children. Often there is no place for a joint meal with the parents. I think in many homes the children don’t see both mother and father working in concert on some issue because they are never there in the home at the same time.
In the family that my second husband Sy and I created there must have been a sense of protection lasting even now that Sy has passed on. It is the older girls that, when they are annoyed at me about something, report to me that one of my daughters doesn’t like me very much.
Now there has to be some level of safety that they dare to give that report. And what the speaker doesn’t know is that when the disenchanted daughter was at her stepmother’s funeral and didn’t know I was coming, she spotted me in the vestibule of the funeral home and ignored me for a short time then came over to me. And as I reached out to hold her she dissolved into my arms sobbing. She knew that I would not feel slighted that she was crying over her stepmother’s death and I know that this daughter doesn’t cry in public but knew my arms were a safe place if only for a few moments..
These are the bonds that are needed in our families at the moment and they are created by:
- Parents who are attentive most of the time
- Parents who take the time to discipline and hold that line in a fair manner
- Parents who talk to their children and listen to the replies
- Parents who praise for the good and minimize the bad
- Parents who never ridicule their children.
Many families are dealing with children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome. These are difficult children to raise because many of them are very intelligent but for some reason they don’t have the tools to communicate that fact or the connections for self-control. In the field of psychology we talk about the destruction or non-development of the prefrontal lobe of the brain. Whatever the cause, we still have to do our best to grow these children to their potential.
I have a grandson with this disorder that at first was not noticed. As a young teenage boy he was told to pick up the mess of food and wrappers that had accumulated around where he sat to watch television. I was left by his mother with the instructions to see to it that he picked up the mess by the time she got home from work. I apparently was too bossy in my approach, and he dug in his heels that he wasn’t going to do as I asked. I’m not sure how it escalated but next thing I knew he jumped up from the chair, tore his belt out of his pants, folded it and then advanced on me belt in his extended hand like he was going to thrash me with the belt. My counseling training and my instincts kicked in and I knew that the one thing that he did not need was for me to cower or run. I held my ground and told him to either pick up the offending papers or go downstairs where I knew his grandfather was reading in his chair. This grandson loved his grandfather and that space would be a safe place for him. It took some time but he did eventually go down to be with Sy.
Later in the week I was told that I needed to go with that grandson to his therapy appointment so the therapist could hear my side of the story. I did go and after my grandson told his story, the therapist asked for my rendition. Right in the middle of what I was saying he leaned in toward me and whispered, “Don’t poke the bear!” I was taken aback but finished my version. This therapist seemed to feel that I should have retreated. I believe that what my grandson needed at that moment was someone strong enough to hold him safe from his own uncontrolled rage: a safe place to reside.
So the bottom line of what I’m saying is it is becoming imperative that we take the time in our families to strengthen the bonds that hold us together and cause us to feel loved and safe: to create stability in this changed world of chaos.
P.S. The banner across the top of my blog is the Nashoba Valley where I grew up. Since I am next to the youngest in my whole extended family and many of them are now gone, this is my picture of a safe place.