Don’t go it alone!
Haniel Long said: “So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family that it remains the measure of our stability because it measures our sense of loyalty. All other pacts of love or fear derive from it and are modeled upon it.”
Deadly profound are these words; the words of Haniel Clark Long (1988 – 1956), an American poet, novelist, publisher and academic.
I am taken by this quote because it simplifies the complexities of family. That may seem like a contradiction of terms, but I assure it is not. There is a message to be derived from poet Long’s wisdom; that in times of challenge families may unite or they may disintegrate as do the pillars that support bridges if the weight that passes over exceeds recommended limits. When the weight of anything surpasses pre-determined limits, stress defies all manner of support. You see, of marriage as of bridges it is the pillars that sustain the weight; the weight that is defined as challenge of all degree of poundage - the kinds of challenge that, if left to fester, will destroy the strongest of foundations. Like a leaky dam, its ‘bond’ slowly seeps through the cracks that stress causes.
Dr Wayne Dyer tells there is no stress, only stressful thoughts and of this I agree. The causes for stressful thoughts may be beyond our control, but choosing to give them credence is within our control. That is to suggest, the glass is either half empty with despair or half full of potential. I assert, there is no half empty or half full glass; only negative and positive perception.
If I may, I am going to introduce another cog within this complex wheel, “habit.” I’m sure all have heard the phrase “We are creatures of habit.” What most do not realize is that changing habits, good and bad, requires tremendous energy. If you have tried to quit smoking you understand the amount of energy required to succeed. In families habits may define both unity and chaos. Supportive families are generally cohesive and united; conditions that promote respect and growing bonds of love. Combative families are habitually defensive, unsupportive and retaliatory. Both scenarios are the result of environmental exposure. But then, that which fuels habits is perceptual as well. Many factors root the cause of habits; not a subject for this writing. However, when economic challenges such as the loss of financial sustenance affect one of a family, it affects all. Now is the time to work on developing stronger habits; habits that unit the family into sharing everything it takes to survive. To build each other up as opposed to tearing down; to support rather than to abandon. When bread winners are left wading turbulent waters without so much as a life jacket they become lonely growing feelings of hopelessness and despair. In such dire times families must bolster each other’s strengths by supporting and planning together; not criticizing, blaming, or engaging in personal attacks.
The unemployment rate is close to double digits. Families are struggling to get jobs, change many habits born of financial security and prosperity. Human nature causes most to take such things as job security, growing incomes, increasing real estate equities, a healthy Wall Street, affordable taxation, available healthcare, and more for granted. Per what used to be, we planned to upgrade to more expensive and luxurious homes, longer and more expensive vacations, dream cars, and so much more. We also took for granted that we would be able to afford college for our kids. I can describe many more wonderful used-to be’s; however, the bubble has broken and what was, is no longer what is.
The message I derive from Haniel Longs quote is this: to survive we must come together, advantaging our love and support; to sit down as a family, involving the children so they feel part of the solution and not part of the problem. Discussing the realities and planning together the family’s tactics and strategies for survival.
John Donne (1572 – 1631), born in London into an old Roman Catholic family at a time when anti-Catholic feeling in England was near its height said, “No ‘man’ is an island.”
"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Relevant adaptation: No man or woman or child is an island of itself; every man, woman, and child is a part of the main, the family; if a member be washed away by the sea, the family is less as well as if a provider were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any of the it’s death weakens and diminishes the family, because it is committed to its future. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for the family.”
The message I impart: Do not permit that which is to blame to break up the family; but to resource the love, the respect, the friendship that is family. Astounding results are born when dedicated minds come together for “No man, woman, or child is an island.”