Make the first move
Amity, bookkeeper for a marketing company Yakima, Washington, told Session 4B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"About 14 years ago when I first got married to my husband, Todd, it seemed like everyone in the family got along great. We were like a wonderful, shiny pink pearl, at least on the surface. Everything was smooth and shiny, but underneath, there was tension and irritants, old hurts, misunderstandings, and childish jealousy. This was keeping us from having the rich, intimate relationships we all want with family and true friends.
"As time went by, there were fewer and fewer family gatherings. When we did get together, there were absentees who always had lots of excuses. Our shallow conversations only skimmed the surface, mostly about sports and, of course, our kids. There always seemed to be a hard to describe tension in the air, the proverbial "walking on egg shells." I think we have all experienced that awkward feeling at one time or another. Two years ago, my motherin- law enlightened me on how much the discord was hurting her. It was a plea for me to do something. Little did I know, she had also told my husband’s brother’s wife, my sister-in-law, as well. Sometime later, my sister-in-law called me to talk about what was going on. I knew it would all come out if I chose to discuss it, like the saying, ‘Tell a girl, tell the world.’ However, I decided to take the opportunity to hash it out. I began by asking my husband about what was going on from his perspective. We decided to put all the angst in the past
and have a do -over, to give each other the benefit of the doubt, make a fresh start and move forward. Over the next six months, we gradually rebuilt our family’s relationships. Gatherings were more frequent and a lot more fun. I am so thankful that I acted on the opportunity to help repair the relationships because this last year, my husband’s brother was taken from us suddenly. Instead of regret, I have peace of mind knowing that I had a part in the brothers regaining the harmony they both wanted.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that when opportunities arise to help solve relationship problem that matters, I need to act, seize the initiative, and not let fear hold me back. The action I call you to take is to act courageously on the opportunities to enhance and repair strained relationships. Family relationships are so important and the opportunity to correct a stressed relationship may not come around again. The benefit you will gain is you will live a life with no regrets."
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