survival tips for family gatherings
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR FAMILY GATHERINGS
Well, it’s official. We’re in the Holidays. And here’s another ‘How to Survive the Holidays’ blog. Go ahead – scream! Yet, maybe, this one can encourage you.
This is not about grieving through Christmas, or how to deal with all the broken relationships. No. I would rather tackle the traditions of Christmas. So go ahead and scream again.
In a non-scientific poll, I asked people what they thought about how to cope through the three sacred festivals (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter). Here are a few comments that came up:
The last is my favorite. The designated driver, that is.
It also dawned on me that two of these holidays are supposed to be sacred, and I didn’t get one sacred comment on how to manage the holidays, such as “pray before you go”, etc.
So then, how do we cope with traditions and culture which seem to be practiced but not understood? Here are some thoughts.
HOW TO DEVELOP SUPPORT FOR CHANGE
People come in for counselling for one primary reason - to deal with an issue. This is an over simplification, yet at the base level this is the case. Healing needs to take place and that requires some sort of change. The challenge comes when there is limited or no support for that change.
THE PRINCIPLE OF THIRDS
The Principle of Thirds is a principle which helps us see where our energy is going and the steps we need to take to bring about healthy living.
Here’s how it works:
Take four cups.
Place three of them in front of you.
Now go and fill the fourth cup with water (This is represented by the cloud in the figure above.)
Now label the three cups: The middle one is you. The right one is labelled “those who help me grow”. The left one is labelled “those I give to”.
Now take the water. Pour ¾ into the cup to your left and ¼ into the right cup.
The water symbolizes all the people who come into your life. There are those who challenge you. The other group are those you give to or that you help.
Now take the cup which is labelled “those I give to” and put it in the freezer. When that cup is frozen, bring it out and place it in front of you.
Now take all four cups. The left cup is frozen, the second cup is the one that is labelled “you”, the third cup is a quarter full and is labelled “those who challenge you”. The fourth cup is very important. Turn it upside down and allow it to be a stand for the third cup.
Here is the lesson. Look at your cup. It’s empty. That symbolizes your need, i.e. you’re thirsty. Try pouring some frozen water into your cup. Notice what happens … nothing. Let that sink in. All the people you have helped and that are in need - not one of them can help you. If this continues, you will dry up completely.
Now go to the cup on the right and pour what water there is into your cup. Observe what is happening. You have some water. This means you are not going to dry up. There is hope. Change is happening. These people you have invested in are there for you.
When my wife and I lost our son, Matthew, we noticed that a lot of people were not there for us who we were certain would be. They obviously were in the frozen cup. But then there were those who we never thought would come alongside us, but to our surprise, they did. They were in the right cup.
In order for healing and change to take place, we need to put more energy and effort into the right cup. Now notice that the right cup is on a pedestal. This symbolizes the effort it takes to put into these relationships.
If you apply this Principle of Thirds, you will notice some of the people in the “frozen” cup will come and meet you halfway and there can be some good relationships resulting from that. You will also notice that you will help fewer people and begin to recognize where you can make a difference. Lastly, you will be happier as you put more energy into the third cup - those who challenge you.
Give it a try. It really does work.