A strong extended family connection based on communication, celebration, and good will must be constantly pursued against the odds. The odds consist of family members embroiled in such situations as alcohol and drugs, domestic violence, sibling rivalry, envy and negative competition.
In such dire situations, many extended family members may remain difficult and unwilling to participate in creating family unity. Nevertheless, we must approach those who are open and willing to make the dream of strong extended family connection possible.
Openness to creating a strong extended family connection involves patience and persistence in promoting the dream, along with the few members who have shown commitment. In difficult family challenges, these few extended family members coming together, loving, encouraging and strengthening one another will provide the spark to attract other family members into the dream.
This activity could take the form of getting away on a quiet retreat, relaxing together and spending moments in meditation and prayer. No matter how unappreciative certain family members appear to be in attitude, engagement with them must continue with increasing consistency. These engagements can happen in three ways:
Giving a reluctant or disengaged family member a weekly phone call is the simplest means of maintaining connections with our loved ones, especially if they are distant. Even if they don’t answer to the phone call, you can always leave a message of love. Our purpose is not to condemn or express anger because of their non-responsiveness. Our purpose is to always show what the love within us is capable of doing. We must be aware that only love has the power to bind the family together into a strong unit.
Pay a visit
For an extended family member who is disengaged but is willing to receive our presence, we should show a pattern of frequent visits, especially if we are in the same town or city. Once again, our desire for visiting should be only to listen if they need someone to talk to. By being there for them, we show them that we care and desire a strong extended family love connection.
However, if our love ones ask us for our advice, we must tell them the truth regarding their situation, whether it involves alcohol or drugs, anger or bitterness, or unforgiveness for some other family member, even if that other family member is ourselves. We must be willing to be the first to forgive, even if we are not at fault. Such is the power of love.
Hospitality could mean several things, including financial assistant, proving food, clothing, and shelter or it could be as simple as fixing a door or mowing a lawn. Whatever we do we should be willing, for the sake of a strong extended family connection, to sacrifice time, energy and money to relieve the burdens of our loved ones.
However, we should lend assistant only for legitimate reasons and nothing else. For example, we should not lend monetary assistant for a family member with a drug, alcohol or gambling problem. But we should extend other means of help such as food, clothing or re-habitation support.
Our whole purpose for these kinds of extended family engagements is to gradually win the hearts of our loved ones, letting them know that we truly love and care for them. In a world where family members stay scattered abroad, disconnected, and uncaring the challenge of building a strong family connection appear to be daunting.
However, we all know that the power of love is far more superior than any obstacle to unity. If it is practiced with strong perseverance and commitment no dream of togetherness and human connection can go unrealized.