I haven’t always cherished my siblings. While growing up, I kept my distance from some of them because frankly, they scared me. While in high school, I shared a bedroom with one of my sisters, and had a very difficult time liking her. She was messy and I was neat. It was a relief to me when another brother finally left home, and she moved into his old bedroom. Later, as everyone grew up, left home, and began their own lives, I lost connection with most of them and they became strangers. I knew about them, but I didn’t really know them.
Changing Points of View
Relationships with people, even family members with whom we share a common ancestry, are complex. Everyone has their own point of view about everything. Everyone holds tightly to their own opinions about politics, politicians, parents and religion. How then, do we get along? How then, do we value, respect, admire, treasure and hold in high regard those who we call our family? It is not easy, but getting along is a worthy cause. It does take time, attentiveness and a willingness to be vulnerable. But, connecting with family, on a deep and personal level, grows us into better people.
I have to give credit to that messy sister with whom I shared a bedroom in high school. Though somewhat disorganized, she is creative. She is the one who hatched the Macek Maverick phone call idea. These family calls started out as once a week and have since moved to bimonthly. Not everyone can always participate, or may even want to participate, but those who can, do so as often as they want.
Each sibling gets their turn at posing a specific question. This question is emailed out to everyone else ahead of time so that on the night of the call, we’ve had time to think and formulate an answer.
Our conference call lasts for about an hour and every person gets about 5-7 minutes to answer the question.We try not to interrupt the one who is talking, but when they are finished, we can ask them a question or make a comment.
Although these calls have been taking place for more than two years, none of the questions have ever been repeated mainly because there is no limit to the types of questions one might ask of someone else.
I’ve been surprised by the topics we’ve discussed and the depths these topics take us to with one another. Listening to my siblings and hearing their stories is a gift. There is so much I don’t know about them and so much to learn. Thankfully, we are willing to listen to each other and it is in our listening that we learn about each other.
Why bother cherishing family bonds? Learning to cherish our family bonds begins with learning to listen to our family.