I Can’t Do it All

I need your help with Mom too.

A client had a  family member who took control of his mother’s care. This situation is not unique. In fact it is happening in families across the world every day. For the most part this family member could handle the doctor visits, the oversight of the care providers and the house cleaning, but that only for the most part. The toll it was taking on him finally diminished his immune system and he got sick.  He caught a horrible flu.

As he was in the wretched stages of this particular virus, his mother suddenly became  life threateningly ill. He needed another family member to help but this sibling said she was busy consoling a friend of a friend. So, in his possible contagious and compromised state, he drove to his mother’s house, found her drifting in and out of consciousness, called the medics and stayed until she was taken to the hospital where she ended up in the ICU area.

I bring this up because this family had not yet committed to their family’s bigger picture. Where they were, as a unit, when this event took place was common.  The caregivers’ sister had a response you may be familiar with. “You deal with it, I’m busy.” Or perhaps you’ve encountered: “You deal with it you’re closer.” or “You deal with it, it’s your turn.”  It’s easy to justify and disengage when you haven’t yet come together as a family. 

Let’s fast forward to how this family is now dealing with this particular matter. There is a team in place, a team this family has called Compassion. The team’s function and responsibility is to utilize their agreed to definition of compassion in dealing with unexpected situations. This team is a subset of their governance council so its rules follow those of the council. A key benefit of this team is that it has allowed this family to deal with Mom’s situation is when a call is made to a sibling; a protocol of questions to ascertain the importance of this call from other goings on in the family’s daily life is made. Another key benefit is that it has completely changed, for the better, the way this family now works together in unexpected and planned activities. 

Before the family mission had been established this family engaged as separate and siloed small families. Once they crafted their mission, they were able to put together the teams built with purpose that supported their mission together.

What can you take from this to determine a next step for you to strengthen family connections between generations, especially when unexpected and critical matters arise?

Next time I will talk about the cost of putting the wrong family members in the wrong seat of the family business.

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