Five Tips to Successful Family Reunions.
Family Reunions are not happy reunions to some, especially if you have that one relative who always brings drama to every family party. A family reunion can often cause feelings of depression, unnecessary expenses, and more division if not handled carefully.
One can possibly become an alcoholic after a family reunion or perhaps consider suicide as a viable option to having to do that again. Joking aside, some of you have had happy reunions (you can go now), but this message is for those who are trying to knit together a happier family without considering a move to Siberia afterwards. Let’s encourage better families with these five tips:
- Do A Weapons Check. Do a weapons check means you must be the bigger person at a family reunion. Refrain from the usual exchange of gun fire, like sarcasm, games, hidden meanings behind seemingly innocuous conversations, and avoiding manipulations. Resist the temptation to return fire as you smile and toast to that one’s health. Sincerity begins with you, even if that love is not returned. A family reunion gunfight may bring on other causalities you did not anticipate of family members unwillingly drawn into a generations-long family drama. Divisions happen when gunfire erupts.
- Prayer. Pray before a family reunion. Come with God’s Word in your heart and repeat certain scripture to remind yourself that you may have difficulty loving someone, but Jesus loves them. Ask God to be in your family reunion. Then, give Him control over it. Step back and do nothing; don’t try to control it.
- Avoiding The Asylum. Don’t let a family reunion make you feel like you should reserve a room afterwards in an insane asylum. Family reunions can be difficult, even tense, but can be remedied by simply choosing to hang out with those in the family who are a light. Not everyone is involved in the family drama. Not everyone wishes involvement, and so hanging out with family who want to get out to see the town together or catch-up on the good old times are better than trying to play the same game as the people involved in the dramas. Ignoring drama-creators are a remedy to going insane and being miserable.
- The Hideout. Being a good helper at family reunions has many pluses. A helper can hide in the kitchen to avoid unpleasant people, while easing the burden of those organizing the family reunion by agreeing to do the dishes or clearing the table. Helping keeps your hands and mind busy when your mind prefers to dwell on the derogatory comments said under the guise of a smile.
- Inclusive, Not Exclusive. Everyone must do their part at playing host or hostess during family reunions. This ensures each person feels welcomed and loved. No one is left out of conversations when everyone owns the hosting responsibility. Get a drink for Uncle Abe and make tea for Grandma Georgette (even if she is cranky). If nearly everyone is owning this responsibility, the drama makers can’t capture the spotlight and bring down the community mood. Drama makers crave the spotlight. Not giving them the spotlight helps make a family reunion more enjoyable.
Family Reunions should have a fun element. Don’t try to recreate what used to work, but do something new. There are games one can find online and many tourist areas where family members can visit, then reconvene in the evening as one group. Don’t try to control everyone the whole weekend. The fun element means letting family members go so they want to come back next year because the memories were so good. For those really difficult family reunions, I would suggest reading this article about Dysfunctional Family Bingo. Add a little humor and it’s amazing what you can tolerate.
How did you survive your family reunion? Share your stories.