member during this time of crisis?
The holidays are a time when people think about families. It’s also a season where expectations are often unreasonably high. Indeed, most of us carry around unrealistic expectations regarding family life during the holidays.
I know, because in that department, I am guilty as charged. I want each family event to be the “best ever,” and I can set up high expectations that are hard to fulfill. I have been compared to Chevy Chase’s character, Clark Griswold, in the iconic Christmas movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In the film, there is this bit of dialogue with his long-suffering wife, Ellen:
Ellen: “You set standards that no family activity can live up to.”
Clark: “When have I ever done that?”
Ellen: “Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, funerals, holidays, vacations, graduations…”
Clark and I are not alone; the holidays bring up a host of family issues. It’s also a time when people who are estranged from their families feel pain most acutely.
Perhaps for this reason, National Public Radio featured my new book, Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them, on two recent shows. The response was amazing. I had the pleasure of taking call-ins on the show Radio Times on WHYY Philadelphia. I was struck by the enormous pain of estrangement callers described, but also hopeful stories of reconciliation listeners shared.
I was also able to join host Robin Young on the nationally-syndicated NPR show Here & Now. We had a great conversation about the book, family rifts, and strategies to overcome them.
Please take a listen, and let me know your thoughts in the comments section!