In the midst of a family crisis, do you ever wish you had refrained from burying your head in the sand? Or do you wish you had bit your lip and not said those hasty, harsh words?
That is, instead of wishing the problem or person would “just go away,” maybe it would have been a good idea to get some outside help.
That is one of the takeaways I get from reading John W. Gibson’s recent book “Family Matters Matter: Stories of Reconciliation & Healing.” Reading the various cases in this small book, I could see how this professor of gerontology, counselor and life coach helps families set rules, communicate fairly and develop value-oriented decisions.
“It is my mission to bring out the best in individuals, couples and families, whether they are in the midst of the best or the worst of times,” says Gibson, who lives and works in the Seattle area. “I believe every family can grow stronger.”
What’s best for mom? A family copes with mother’s stroke
One case study particularly hit home called “They Came Together for Mom.” In this story, Ruth, the capable mother of five very successful children now in their 50s and 60s, had a stroke. Everyone, including the four spouses, had strong and varying opinions on “What’s best for mom” and how to manage the family holdings.
They came to Gibson for guidance and to facilitate communication. The first few meetings were spent setting ground rules for expressing frustration and anger in a reasonable exchange. During the next meetings, again with much debate, the children agreed on a set of values and principles that would guide their mother’s care. The end product of this discussion was what they called the “Guideline for Mother’s Care.”
Next they tackled the legal and financial issues. It was complex and difficult, but Gibson notes, “The family was gaining skill in holding the tension of their differences, finding underlying values and using those criteria against which to compare possible solutions.”
Gibson summarizes how coaching helped this family, “Looking back on where they had begun, they realized that this harmony evolved from their new found ability to honor group, self and mother.”
For more information about John W. Gibson, PhD, please go to the website www.DrJohnOnAging.com