Sunday 5-5-13 ~ Designated Hitters

Happy Sunday!

I have been thinking about my family and the roles we played growing up.  Although we don’t openly discuss it, I know each of my siblings have different perspectives on our childhood and some of us are carrying hurt.  The following thoughts are my own ideas in trying to understand the perspectives of my siblings so I can better view them with loving eyes.
A couple of weeks ago Peter and I were lying in bed, each of us reading a book.  Peter was reading the book Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen.  He mentioned an interesting quote and read it to me.

“Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can’t go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside.”

This quote is what brought up consideration of my siblings and the roles we placed on each other.  No, I don’t think any of us are a lunatic. ; )  Reflecting on this quote I have come to think we fit people into roles in the family based on such things as gender and birth order.  I know that each of us just wants to be loved for being our selves and I want to LOVE my family, each individual for who they are, therefore I have been considering how hurt in the family can come about by each person being cast into a role.
As siblings we compete for the attention of our parents but we also compete with each other to boost our own egos.  I believe it is the roles in the family that create expectations (either placed on us or those we perceived to be on us) that brings the hurt when the expectations are not met. I was having a hard time in the beginning trying to figure out the roles of us seven kids.  To simplify my thoughts I considered other families, I am fortunate that I have a lot of men friends and it seems that almost all of them have one brother, so two sons in the family getting rid of the gender roles.  Thinking on roles in their families I see where one son took on the care taker role for the parents and home and the other lived more independently by either being a success or a renegade.  The thought came to me that these roles are about respect and responsibility.  We all know examples where one child is taking on the responsibility of caring for the parents while the other child is the pride of the parents with the successful career, thereby getting most of the respect.
I definitely felt like I was onto something here with the idea of respect and responsibility being where the hurt or resentment might come from.
I thought that birth order gave the older child respect just by more years of experience.  Additionally, respect can be earned by accomplishments that can be achieved through out ones life, but if all children are mostly equal in their careers and lifestyles then the younger child may never feel respected.  In a big family the older kids put down the youngest for being younger and lacking experience, boosting their own egos but leaving no one for the youngest to weigh themselves against to boost their sense of worth.  This makes me think of the taking of other peoples energy as described in the book Celestine Prophesy (I made reference to this in the first part of my 2012 document). If only the message of the parent could express the Truth that we are all Divine and equal children of God.  I hope future generations will be taught that the light of our spirit is ours to manage and to not allow others just grab away our light.
Responsibility may also be put onto the older child but I think gender roles play a big part in how responsibilities are given out, girls getting daily nurturing roles and boys needing to lend an occasional helping hand with projects, outside maintenance, and business matters.  This is another area where as siblings we get competitive, comparing who is doing more.  As a cause for hurt I first considered the resentment that maybe held by the child who feels over burdened by responsibility but with that comes additional respect from the others as well as the pride you have in yourself for your contributions.   What didn’t seem so obvious to me was the realization that in big families there may also be a lot of guilt causing hurt to the ones who think they are not doing enough.  Guilt is that emotion put on ourselves causing our hurt and pain; it may be of use at times to motivate us into action but in most cases it is just a source of pain and unnecessarily takes away our energy.  If we are always striving to do our best, we shouldn’t expect more from ourselves and just learn to let the guilt go. I hope we can be there for each other to let the hurt go.  A great thing about being in a big family is that there are many of us to share the problems with and when one is going through a tough time with personal issues then another sibling take take on more.  Frankly, I don’t know how only children do it!
This has been a tough exercise for me; as an optimist I don’t hold onto the emotions of the past and always feel people did the best they could at the time.  I am sure there is more to learn and I am open to whatever insights come my way.
I recognize that my siblings play important roles in my spiritual development and I want to LOVE each for who they are.  I am happy to be working to strip away the prejudices that our family roles placed on my perspective of each of these special people that I LOVE.

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