We seem to live in a marvellous age, where grandchildren are no longer ‘to be seen but not heard’ and grandparents play a more active role than our Western tradition remembers. Active grandparenting, a phenomenon not so unusual in other cultures, is a blessing for the entire extended family. It’s one example of a divinely appointed family reconnection, where, in this case, sons and daughters reflect in different ways with their parents, through their children, and vice versa. It changes the frame of reference, often disarming nemeses of the past.
It can be seen in so many families that life’s imperfections dwelt never more basically than through our early experiences within the home.
Yet, many of these imperfections, whether common annoyances or instances more significant, take on a different glow within changes to the relational dynamic within families.
It’s not so much that time heals all wounds, but time affords families sufficient change in circumstances, the addition of new generations, to manage different emotional landscapes. Things don’t always remain so raw. New contexts allow for the freshening of perspective.
The Importance Of An Open Mind
Sometimes it’s the matter of surprise that takes us into acceptance of previously unacceptable familial realities. Where there had been a barrier it’s become melted because of our observation of a dynamic within the family that breaks a previous concept we had of a family member; a parent, a sibling, or one of our children.
We see them in a new light. And we may even judge ourselves for being too harsh, previously. Did they change? Or was it that we never saw this side of them?
Neither of the above questions is that relevant. What is relevant is the miracle that took place that enabled us to see them in this new, fresh way. We were surprised because we had an open mind; perhaps this was unintentional. Either way there’s less discord in our perception of them, and our relationship with them can be better as a result.
Most people can be seen as normal and fair, given vision of the challenges that their upbringing provided them. In cases of reconnection of rapport not only must we be open-minded, but open-hearted.
Time and new circumstances bring fresh opportunities within families. New generations breathe life into sometimes dilapidated ancestral arrangements. As people take on new roles—as parents and grandparents, for instance—we get to see them in a new dimension. Approach family with an open mind and an open heart.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.