What is a functional family? I have just been away, visiting family this past weekend, and if you were an outsider looking in you would think we were a dysfunctional family, but that would be the farthest thing from the truth. Our dysfunctionality makes us functional. They have different personalities, eating habits and parenting styles. My family are people from different geographical locations, ages, and opinions. But regardless of how we differ, I had a blast. There were four separate families all under one roof for days. From helicopter pilots to communication experts, retirees to infants, housewives to over opinionated blog writers (I’m sure you can figure out who the last one is). There were also a gaggle of kids around (five of them under the age of seven). You don’t know what silence is until you’ve spent time with that many kids. What is it that gets kids going when they get in groups? Is it some type of survival mechanism? They think if they make enough noise, the older members of the pack will vacate the area. Trust me, you can’t stay where the kids are for more than five minutes, even if you are trying to be the cool uncle and play with the kids for a bit. The only way you can even last the maximum five minutes in the lord of flies room, is that you still think you’re a kid (not necessarily a good thing, your just a immature adult, face it, childhood is over, grab a shovel and get back to work). So we sit around, catch up, drink coffee, make fun of each other and bond. It’s how families work.
Well I told you that story to make a point. We may all be different in my family, but as a whole, we get along, we may mesh the gears now and again but in the long haul we run pretty smoothly. Is this because we live in different cities or is this just how things are? I thought about this and then thought about other dysfunctional families. Like America. Think about it. You take someone from Florida and another person from Seattle and put them in the same room, what could they possibly have in common? Other than being American. Is that enough? Or North Dakota and Louisiana. How about even smaller, like within the state of California. You take someone from Los Angeles and someone from Bakersfield, two different worlds, and put them together. It’d be like putting two feral cats in a box and shaking it up. But you put a flag behind them and they’re holding hands and shaking their fists at the terrorists. It’s a powerful thing, belonging to something.
Same within microcosms such as the National Hockey League. You have the Leauge, then the thirty teams, then the positions within the teams (forwards, defence, goalies, coaches, trainers, etc.), then down to the individual. But as a whole, they have an identity, even the fans of the game are within these ranks. It is a strange thing, but birds of a feather…buy season tickets. It’s what makes us stronger as individuals, our tribes.
What keeps them working together is an identity, whether it means they are hockey players, Americans, or part of you’re family. It is a badge that we wear, something that we are a part of, something that makes us feel like we belong. And deep down inside, isn’t this all we want from life, is to be appreciated. I’ll leave you with something that always made me smile, it was from the song “The End” by the Beatles, and is strangely enough, the last song that all four of the Beatles recorded together. The quote is “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” It’s as simple as that.