The Family Tree! How can Some Families Stand Upright again in the Wind? | In the nineteen eighties an unexpected hurricane hit the UK. The trees which fell were the ones which could not bend in the fierce wind. Whilst huge oaks toppled, the more flexible trees withstood the onslaught.
They bent over, almost snapped, but were not uprooted. In a word, they survived. Perhaps not so very different from the way that families cope with disasters.
None of us know when a catastrophe is about to happen. Yet every day ‘ordinary’ people cope with unimaginable disasters of illness, death and betrayal. How is it that some families can bend in the wind? And stand upright again, whilst others become uprooted and collapse?
The Family Tree!
There are families who have to find it within themselves to carry on when faced by the physical. And mental disabilities of a family member. For some couples the birth of a disabled child may bring them closer through caring for their child.
Not in every case however. And for some the additional weight is too much. And also one parent is left to carry on alone. There are families who struggle to come to terms with the mental illness of a loved one. Learning to cope with severe mood swings. Or a debilitating depression.
To remain steadfast and supportive in the face of a major depression in a mother, father, husband, wife. Or child taxes even the most loving and sensitive of us.
Keep it in the family,
There are families who, when called upon, pull together to care for an elderly or infirm relative. We should remember there are young carers too. Some are even the primary carer, the only person providing care.
Recent figures indicate there are as many as 51,000 young people in the UK. Under the age of 18 who provide support for a relative. Statistics are complicated as there is frequently a desire to ‘keep it in the family’.
With the break-up of so many couples from divorce none of us are exempt from the pain this causes the extended family. Yet so often other family members will try to fill the space left by an absent parent.
The Family Tree, Grandparents!
Grandparents find themselves parenting again, albeit part-time, to support a single parent. Uncles, aunts and cousins may all rally round to provide the children with the roots they need in order to thrive.
How do we know if, should we be tested. Our family will remain steadfast. And deal with the blows that life can throw at us?
We all know of those who become blinkered to a growing situation around them. And who do not let themselves ‘see’ that help is needed. These are the families which are unable to deal with the full impact when it hits.
A family does not always consist only of blood relatives. Many ‘families’ are formed by groups of people who watch out for each other. Neighbours are still there, although perhaps not so tight-knit as in the past.
Do you watch an elderly neighbour’s house to see if the curtains are opened in the morning? Are you ‘there’ when a busy mother has an emergency with a child? Do you know if a colleague at work is struggling with a family crisis?
What do we want from a family? Looking at the high viewing figures for nightly ‘soaps’ suggests there is a great interest in family life. Even if it is only representative of dysfunctional television families.
The ‘Friends’ TV programme has become essential viewing for men. And women who long to find a group of mutually supportive people.
At the end of the day. It is not how a family is seen ‘traditional’, ‘step’, ‘gay’, ‘child-free’ or ‘one-parent’. But what the interaction is like between the members of that family. Whether there are people to turn to when the outside world is cold.
In truth, we are all dependant upon each other. The man or woman who believes he or she can stand alone will find life hard going if the hurricane arrives.