The family of origin for each of us is what I call our tribe. Each family – each tribe – has their own way of relating to the world. We each absorb these norms or patterns of thought and behavior so easily and thoroughly we don’t realize its simply our tribe’s way of viewing the world. We assume everyone sees life as we do. Some refer to this as early childhood or adolescent programming. Lots of us spend our lives attempting to delete some of the programs. Many of us are totally unaware there are programs.
At holiday time, families get together. So my tribe, my family and my husband’s tribe are all together. Throw in my grown childrens’ spouses and sometimes their spouse’s parents or other relatives and you have a gathering of many tribes under the auspice of a holiday party. Now, this gathering of the tribes – this celebration – usually has its moments.
Oh, you make the salad that way? Eyes roll. How many drinks has your Dad had? Where did they find that music? Did you see what she was wearing? Think back over your holiday – I’m sure you can add to the list.
One of the most fertile grounds for disagreements this time of the year is kids. In this era of divorce, many kids have step mothers and step fathers. So, now added to this whole tribe dynamic – enter the steps. I think your child should have reacted in a different way. My child isn’t even a part of my tribe – he is a part of my ex-wife’s tribe – he spends most of his time with them. So, now we have the attempt to blend four tribes in an effort to guide this child. Natural mother – step father. Natural father – step mother. I wonder whether the kids will benefit long term or be harmed long term? My guess is they will benefit. Assuming this whole dynamic is played out with love in the hearts of all concerned.
Isn’t that always the lesson? It takes lots of different forms in our lives. Same lesson. Whenever I get off base, feel hurt or sad or angry. I do my best to remember to just love. No matter what comes my way, I can always love. No expectation that I will be loved by you in return. That’s your business. I just love. It feels so good inside. Addictive!
It helps me to remember tribes are just different. No one is right or wrong. There is no right or wrong way. Just difference. It’s really all a lesson in acceptance. And, love.