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Monday, October 10, 2011

A Safe Baseline of Acceptance

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
(Robert Frost)

I would modify Robert Frost’s statement.  I think instead “Home is the place, when you go there, they take you in.”  The essential ingredient of family life from my point of view is acceptance.  This acceptance yields over time a deepening love.  Knowing that one has acceptance is a tremendously freeing state of mind.  With acceptance assured, one no longer has to be perfect.  One is free to take risks.  This means that in the most intimate family settings one can fart proudly.  In a family gathering at Thanksgiving one can spill a glass of tea without rejection. In an extended family setting one finds it safe to be creative (inherently a risky thing to do).  This evening I watched a Nova program on the rescue of the Hubble Space Telescope.  Many workgroups of engineers, scientists, technicians, and astronauts participated.  A member of the effort described the work climate as an extended family. It was clear in the video how this family atmosphere greatly facilitated the various creative tasks that had to be done.  By no means did everything work smoothly or perfectly.  But through it all was the supportive undergirding that derives only from the acceptance found in family.  The contrasting atmosphere suggesting unpleasant duty coupled with a judgmental attitude clearly reveals the overwhelming preference and necessity for a safe baseline of acceptance in the completion of challenging and critical tasks.

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