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How a Tribute to Veterans Can Emphasize the Value of Family

Aug 17, 2007
Veteran's Day gives us all a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to the women and men who, over the years, have endured hardships and made sacrifices to protect our basic freedoms. Some people attend local services or community parades, others take the time to remember more quietly. How do you feel most comfortable expressing your patriotism or nationalism?

There is hardly a family that hasn't been touched by either the pain of conflict and war or the grief of loss. For many, feelings remain raw whether the loss was long ago or the mourning process is going on in the present.

Pat reflects on the irony of it all, having lost her Father in the Vietnam war. "He died when I was five and I spent my growing up years longing for a Dad. I couldn't believe it when my husband told me he had decided to make the military his career. I hope every day that my children won't have to suffer what I went through."

The significance of appreciating Veterans has many parallels to our own personal relationships at home. As you remember the Veterans of all wars, reflect on the following ideals as they apply to your own family:

1. Identify, for yourself, the important components of what gives life meaning. Discover what constitutes personal well being, within the context of family. Continue to live up to those standards.

2. Value each member of your family and their individuality, emotional strength and independence. Let them know how much you respect these qualities. And inform them that you need them to accept your unique personal characteristics as well.

3. In moments of frustration, notice the context of the challenging situation. Recognize that your partner, children or parents are ordinary people who have been put in extraordinary circumstances.

4. Try to understand why your family members feel the way they do, and why they do the things they do, by putting yourself in their shoes. Identify with them and their feelings.

5. Acknowledge the depth and richness of your family life together. Relish, as well as laugh about, the complexity of it all.

6. Feel the embrace and the protection of the family unit as a whole. Tell your family how grateful you are for all the support that they provides for you.

No matter the composition of your family, how can you create daily positive thoughts about your relationships? How can you regularly express your gratitude to family members? Find the special ways to honor them as you work toward increasing the bonds of family unity.

Her Mentor Center, 2006
About the Author
Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. are founders of http://www.HerMentorCenter.com, a website for midlife women and http://www.NourishingRelationships.Blogspot.com, a Blog for the Sandwich Generation. They are authors of a forthcoming book about Boomers and family relationships. They offer free newsletter Stepping Stones.
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