Archive for September 28, 2010

Family Business is Just That, No One Else Needs to Know

My mother always chided us for “talking too much”.  Her biggest pet peeve was when someone repeated something that we told them, usually something we had no business talking about.  She always felt that family business was just that, family business and no one else needed to know things that happened in our house.   Well, I certainly understand that now.  I realize that when you chat about things that are supposed to be private, regardless of the intent, you sort of set the family up for destruction (trust me, no exaggeration).  This is not productive for a family intent on growing and bonding amongst its members, it certainly does not benefit anyone (of course unless there is some inappropriate behavior or egregious conduct that warrants intervention).

As I matured, I truly started to appreciate the significance of keeping some things hush when it comes to family.  One of the most valued principles, but unfortunately eroded this day and age,  of most families (both intact and separated) is loyalty.  When a family can depend on its members to keep its most sensitive issues within the confines of the family’s dwelling, they tend to be more open, honest and close-knit which should be the universal objective.  I used to just freely rap about things like a fight amongst my siblings, whether one of my sisters was wearing a hand me down or if my brother got a lashing from my mother for breaking curfew.  I did not think anything of what I was doing, thought only that I was gaining popularity by entertaining my friends with the lowdown of family’s antics. It did not register that this was all at the expense of my family, the same people whom I vowed I die for.  In retrospect, what I see I was doing was creating a divide, somewhat of a chasm within my family that we are paying for til this day.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is civil to each other, in most respects, and we all have love for each other.  However, I know that if we each held these principles to heart, we would make more of an effort to be there for one another at even the most mundane events.

Especially within my own family, which currently consists of myself and my SO, I can certainly appreciate the need to keep our business between us.  Opinions about either his or my behaviors, suggestions about how to handle disagreements or outright directives concerning our relationship are not highly favored when it comes to my family.  I have learned that no two relationships are alike and thus there is no “one size fits all” solution for discord or disagreement within it.  No one can strongly recommend or slightly hint how I should address an issue within my home, not unless they are directly involved.  For most relationships, however, outside unsolicited advice is rampant when you publicize your business amongst outsiders.  Many folks forget, conveniently, that when they endured the same or similar situation they responded differently.  They can impart objectivity when it comes to someone else but when it is them they lose all sight of impartiality, which for the most part minimizes their credibility.  I do strategically and carefully choose what I reveal and to whom I reveal it to, and in turn accept what they have to say in response.  But for the most part, the most critical things are between us and we prefer it that way.