It has been laid on my heart to move from blogging a third person academic blog to speaking of communication in families from first hand experience with the knowledge I have gained academically and spiritually. Family is one of the most important support systems that a person can have. A family member can also be the most important thing the family has.
The pillar of my family was my grandfather. He was a self made man. Back in his day, a person could still do that without having certificates from a university saying that they are worthy of opportunity. I was raised by my grandparents who valued integrity above all else but led by the faith of our higher power in which I choose to call God. My grandparents believed in hard work and nothing was free. They also believed in family. We all knew that they valued family. This belief was not conveyed in words but actions of support. I now know that I needed to hear the words of love and see actions of love, not just morals and values on how to treat others outside of the home. Lack of communication is generational in my family.
Six years ago my grandfather, at the age of 62, passed with pancreatic cancer. It was a sudden and quick demise to death. I was angry at God for taking the greatest person I had ever known and the one person I knew loved me unconditionally. I would have given any of his monetary means up to have him back. The lack of communication in my family caused huge gaps in-between each family subsystem under our patriarch. Without his unspoken leadership, we began deteriorating as a family unit. Thought processes were assumed by other members that where not factual but no one called the other and spoke of it. This was steady fueling something that would soon explode. The lack of communication allowed negativity to split our family unknowingly at the time.
On Thursday my brother called. I have not spoken to him in a year. Not due to any fractures between us but the fractures in our family. He had the same question for me that I have had for all of my family. What happened here and why? Assumptions are dangerous and very misleading but can be doctored at the root and killed off with communication. There is power in admitting wrongs and misgivings. It demonstrates being humble but most importantly, that you are not putting yourself above the fracture that has occurred and you are not blaming anyone. Lack of communication is to blame. We often let pride and life get in our way of reaching out to those we feel wronged by. Communicating with others allows some of the wrongs to be seen in their perspective and that wrong may not feel as wrong anymore. My brother and I both left the conversation with a peace we had not felt in a very long time.
As I finish my education through one of the top universities in this nation, one of the greatest learning lessons I have gotten was this morning in a service by Bishop TD Jakes. This message was about you. It was about me. It was about individuals taking on the power to change their life and surrounding themselves with good people. Believing in yourself gives you power to reach out and communicate. In his ministry, he is honoring and recognizing how important mental health is. Jakes has made this his mental health awareness month. He also spoke of having a team of counselors on staff because they are given the power to help with situations in your life. My supervisor at Family First Counseling, Ms Megan Lee, told me that she is a Christian that counsels. Professional counselors can help with communication. It is not a weakness to seek out help for you and your family. This allows for healing and understanding to start. We are in this field because it brings joy to our hearts to see families prosper. Communicate with others and if that feels to intimidating, seek help to learn how to communicate.