Senior Dilemmas: Part I, How to Keep Peace in the Family

Jan 28th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

It is not a natural assumption that because a family is a family peace will prevail. Most disagreements and  divisions originate within families.  Often over very petty, generational and power play issues.  Conflict comes on because of a loose word, a missed connection, a blown fuse. Keeping peace in the family is a priority of enormous importance.  Because peace is a requisite to calm, serenity and harmony, without it patterns of behavior may be prompted which create the very opposite of the desirable.

It is quite easy for the presence of peace to be interrupted.  It really doesn’t take much.   Strong feelings, convictions that have been weighed in the balance and found wanting, positions on issues which spark sudden disagreements, outbursts,” this is how I feel (or believe) and that is final attitudes” can render the environment compromised to the point of silence and surrender.    

Always being right is a malady which hampers and harms solid relationships and healthy conversations.  Always comng up with a reason to stimulate argument, because somehow that feeds the ego of the stimulator, will mean that a battle is in the offing.  For the one on the other side, this is when departure, legitimately taking leave will be the course of wisest action.

In our time particularly, I am finding that remaining for the benefit of seeing the battle through accomplishes nothing.  Usually the person whose need is to instigate an adversarial exchange or interaction, has motives far beyond the obvious.  Inferiority is a contributor to some whose ability to frame an argument intellectually will mean they need to fight to the finish, whatever that is.  Many discourses have no finish.  They have been prompted in order to prove something unprovable.  Therefore, for the sake of survival, the one who takes on another must somehow demonstrate strength, which often comes through as pure stubbornness.  Such exercise of effort, if left to simmer, will eventually burn itself out.

And burning itself out is not a bad thing.  Some differences are best left to the interference of nature, to time being called, to individuals just up and walking away.  There is no nobility in seeing a duel to the end, short of one or the other being wounded in the process.  Leave it alone.  Let it be.  Give it time and space to simply turn into ash and the embers to turn cold. 

Keeping peace in the family means that the participants may finally come to that moment when the value of composure overcomes dissension.  If it comes by no other means than simply declaring a truce, this is the time to stand away from each other and let the conflict smolder.  If necessary choose another time, place, occasion to stir it up again, but only with the willingness to do so with the passage of time and the agreement that an outcome can be achieved which serves the best interest of those involved.  And that best interest is one thing:  a declaration that it is over, done, finished.  From that may emerge the possibility for peace in the family, which is where we wanted it to end up anyway.



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