Have you ever tried and tired of (unsuccessfully) getting someone else to change? Why do we respond to some people one way and to others in another way? How can two children from the same family with the same parents be so different, one thrives and the other struggles? Have you ever wondered, like Paul, why you do the things you don’t want to do and don’t do the things you want to do? What’s up with scripture telling us in one place to honor our father and mother, and in another place to hate them? And what’s the deal with God saying the sins of the father will be visited on the children, even to the third and fourth generations?
Most of us tend to see our relationships as a dyad: husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, clergy and parishioner. We think in terms of causation and we focus on what he said or she did, or the problem person in the family. But what if the relationship between family members (or colleagues, parishioners, or any other group that has long-term, intense, and significant relationships) constitute a system, an emotional system? That’s the underlying premise in Murray Bowen’s family systems theory. You’ve probably seen how a reaction in one family member is followed by a predictable reaction in another, and that reaction is followed by a predictable reaction in another and then another in a chain-reaction pattern. Or maybe you’ve experienced having the same conflicts or arguments with the same people over and over. As soon as it begins you already know how it’s going to go.
What’s going in that chain reaction? How can we have better relationships? How can we recover and keep ourselves while remaining emotionally connected to others? That’s what we will explore in a new class on Sundays at 9:15 a.m. in Grace Hall. We will be using Roberta Gilbert’s The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theoryas a guide for our discussion. Books are available in class on Sunday and cost $13.50.
The class is open to everyone and all are invited. I hope you will come. Please let me know if you have questions.
Peace be with you, -- Mike+