Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why My Family Is So Messed Up... And Yours Is Too

Ever notice that every family is a little messed up here and there? Everyones family has little "quirks" that perhaps run the gamut from sweetly endearing to just this side of clinically pathological;) I've often wondered how that happens, and marveled that a behavioral pattern I can clearly see got handed down from one generation to the next.

I'm not naming names here 'cause they know where I live, but I can see that my grandparents did hand down behaviors and habits to Mom and Dad. Most of those behaviors are lovely and cherished and contributed to our fine upbringing. (Did I tell you Mom reads my blog?)

I love that old story that speaks to this issue of behavior being handed down. A mom was making Thanksgiving diner and cut the turkey in half and then quarters to roast it, putting it in four small pans. The young daughter watched and then asked her mom why she did that when all her friend's moms roasted their bird in one big roaster. Well, the mom said, that's the way her mother did it. So let's call grandma and ask her why she did it that way, said the daughter. Grandma, now living in Florida, replied that all she had back in the day was four small pans! Habits unwittingly get handed down.

Was reading the New England Historic Genealogical Society's email newsletter this morning and snapped to attention when I read about genealogical "clan" characteristics. It went on to say a bit about the previous edition of the email newsletter's article on The Grant Family (1898) by Arthur Hastings Grant.

A reader of the newsletter replied about the Bowen Family Systems Theory. Dr Bowen developed a "sort of a family tree of these intrafamilial processes... not to mention the branches of the family that succeed vs. those that don't, and the reasons why."

Here's the link to the Bowen web site and the page on multigenerational transmission process.

Today's picture, from Aunt Betty:

Daniel and Jane are my great grandparents.
Am wondering what behavior I express that were handed down from them!

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