You’ve probably heard the story of the newly married couple. Both were trying to be the perfect partner. The husband noticed his wife cut off about 3” of the ham each time she cooked that dish. He didn’t want to criticize. But she kept doing it. He was calculating how much money she was throwing away.
He finally asked, “Honey, why do you cut off the end of each ham you cook?”
Her reply, “My mother taught me to cook and that’s the way she did it.”
“I don’t know.
The next time they were visiting, she asked her mother why she threw away the end of every ham. Her mother said, “My mother taught me to cook and that’s the way she did it.”
“I don’t know.”
The next conversation with Grandmother they asked her why she cut off the end of the ham and threw it in the trash.
Her answer: “I had a very small skillet.”
Many family rules had a good reason for their beginning but are not helpful now.
Several years ago, I heard a preacher say, “You may not believe it but I had perfect parents. I don’t think either one of them ever committed a sin.” And he was old enough to know better.[tweetthis]Everything in any home is not always right and every right thing is not always the best. [/tweetthis]
People rarely evaluate how they grew up and what they learned.
Margaret J. Marcuson, in her book, Leaders Who Last: sustaining yourself and your ministry, makes this observation:
Relationships are both the most delightful and the hardest part of ministry. We all learn how to relate to others in the family we grow up in. For better and for worse, this is what feels normal and natural…When we unconsciously act from our family script, our choices are limited. It tells us how to be angry, or how to hide, or how to protect others. We learned our lines as soon as we learned to talk (Copyright © 2009 by Margaret J. Marcuson, pages 370-376, Kindle edition).
Think of the power of that. Each person on the leadership team has been preset to act the way their family taught them — unless they have thought and made choices. Each person grew up in a different family. Can you see how we often have conflict?
It might be good to find out why grandma cut off the end of the ham. I might change my way of acting without showing any disrespect for the family tradition. But the only way I’ll find out is to find out why my family does what it does.
I’ve found it helpful to talk to family members about what shaped them and through them shaped me. You might like to try it to see what you learn from those who taught you.
For a list of questions to discuss with family members to could improve your understanding of your background, go to this link: Questions to Learn More About my Family .