From Dr. Jane's Notebook

The Family Balance: Is it Healthy?

Families are ecological systems that require balance. The goal is for the family to feel like a healthy environment for those who live in it. Balance is achieved or lost in a variety of ways. Consider the following examples:

All of her life, Mrs. Brown had been used to getting up early, getting dressed for work, and being a valued and respected employee, who deserved to be tired at night. Retirement only brought her depression and a feeling of worthlessness. Then, she found a volunteer job that allowed her to use her work skills at a more leisurely pace, but which brought structure and commitment back into her life. The notion of planning one's retirement is more than financial!

This couple soon contacted a Golden Retriever Rescue club in their area, and were blessed with a two year old Golden Retriever who desperately needed a good home. In short time, their family balance was re-established and once again, they felt the joy of caring for their dog, taking their daily walks and enjoying the pleasure of his constant company.

Encouraged to develop a new "career plan" and with the help of his extended family, Mr. Jones returned to technical school, earned his degree and achieved his goal of finding a job which he enjoyed. He was now earning more than all of his other part-time jobs put together, and was receiving medical and retirement benefits. Soon, the couple were working the same shift, affording good child care and making plans to buy their own home. Needless to say, their marital relationship and relationship with their children was vastly improved. They now experienced the sense of family balance they wanted.

In this new year, take time to consider whether your family is balanced. Discuss this idea in a "family meeting" and brainstorm together your goals for the future. New Year's resolutions are family matters!

ęCopyright, 1996, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon, M.A., All Rights Reserved.

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Last Updated October 18, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.