It’s nearly Thanksgiving and I’m sure you’ve heard everywhere how thankful and filled with gratitude you should be- or at least how important it is to put together the perfect holiday meal.
I read an interesting tidbit about “Making Peace with Your Family” at www.beliefnet.com, adapted from the book, “Fitting in is Overrated” by Dr. Leonard Felder. It was about dealing with well-meaning relatives who ask all kinds of intimidating questions like, “What do you do for a living again?” or “When are you going to get married?”
What caught my attention was the attitude that family gatherings can be a character-building experience. I had never thought of it that way. It was compared to a physical workout. When you exercise, you have to experience some pain, whether it’s a searing in the lungs, or fatigued muscles, to know that your body is growing stronger and more efficient.
When you have to exercise grace, diplomacy, and patience, even when faced with people who don’t seem to know the meanings of those words, it’s uncomfortable, and even painful. Just like your physical muscles, your character gets stronger when you deal with difficult situations.
I suppose that means that next Thanksgiving or family gathering, it will get easier. At least that’s something to look forward to.
When it comes down to it, I suppose there are plenty of opportunities for growth in the home, the workplace, the place of worship, the neighborhood… The more I think about it, the more frustrating people I meet, the better person I will be. Okay, perhaps I’m a little optimistic, but a rose-colored world isn’t necessarily a bad one.
(To all my friends and family members who might read this, this is entirely hypothetical and has nothing to do with my personal experience. I love you all.)