Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Flow and the Family


To provide flow, a family has to have a goal for its existence. Extrinsic reasons are not sufficient: it is not enough to feel that, well, "Everybody else is married," "It is natural to have children," or "Two can live cheaply as one." These attitudes may encourage one to start a family, but they cannot make it enjoyable. Positive goals are necessary to focus the psychic energies of parents and children common tasks.

Some might be general and long-term, such as planning a particular life-style—to build an ideal home, to provide the best possible education for the children, or to implement a religious way of living in a modern secularized society.

The family must be both differentiated and integrated. Meaning each person must develop his/her uniqueness and if one is successful, the rest of the family is happy and proud and when one is down, the family rallies around him/her. Integration means each person's goals matter to all others.

(My own notes: This reminds me of the Biblical notion to develop our own giftings and yet be united as one body).

How parents interact with a child will have a lasting effect on the kind of person that child grows up to be:

An optimal experience has 5 characteristics:

  1. Clarity. The children feel that they know what their parents expect from them. Goals and feedback.

  2. Centering. The children's perception that their parents are interested in what they are doing in the present, feelings and experiences and not whether they will be going to university or get a good job.

  3. Choice. Children feel that they have a variety of possibilities in which to choose, including that of breaking parental rules—as long as they are prepared to face the consequences.

  4. Commitment. The trust that allows the child to feel comfortable enough to set aside the shield of his defences and become unselfconsciously involved in whatever he is interested in.

  5. Challenge. Parents dedication to provide increasingly complex opportunities for action to their children.



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