Family dynamics can be ugly

?He who robs his father or his mother, and says, ?It is not a transgression,? is the companion of a man who destroys.? Prov. 28:24

The book of Pro?verbs is an interesting collection of sayings compiled by Solomon during his reign as king of Israel.

Whatever the topic, chances are this book will bring relevance to the subject, whether it is simple advice on how one should behave, or a bold declaration of contrasts?between good and evil.

In that regard, the topic today is family dynamics and familial relationships.

This is an especially sensitive topic for anyone to discuss in a public setting. For one thing, we believe it?s nobody?s business what goes on in our family. Second, by revealing what goes on behind closed doors, we are admitting to the outside world that we are a dysfunctional family.

After all, who would want to associate or marry into a family that cannot be as perfect as we want them to think, right? We perpetuate the myth of perfection, hoping that no one will notice what really goes on.

Yet, all families deal with these issues at one time or another. It does not take a genius to discover the real nature of family relationships. We only need to listen to people as they carry on everyday conversation.

Social media like Facebook reveal much about family relationships. A recent conversation provided insight into a broad spectrum of experiences, just by what people were sharing in a normal conversation.

The topic began when a friend posted a link to an article in the New York Times about the rising divorce rate among baby boomers age 50 and older.

It spontaneously blossomed into a discussion about marriage, whether one should think of it solely as an economic contract and nothing more. This was a modern version of an age-old discussion of the question: Do you marry for love or for money?

Someone once said, money comes first. You can always learn to love someone. Are we sure about that? Judging from the rising divorce rate among aging baby boomers and the corresponding decline in economic comfort within these family units, I?m not willing to make that conclusion.

Perhaps it is the money we love most about a person, rather than that person.

Sibling rivalry is another thorny issue we rarely discuss. If children are not trained properly by parents, petty issues become major hurdles when children become adults.

We may laugh about the cliche, ?Mother always liked you best!? It?s no laughing matter when adult children perpetuate this behavior into their 40s, 50s and even 60s and beyond.

When the time comes to manage mom and dad?s estate, or when a will is changed?for better or worse, but mostly for the worse?these seemingly petty differences can blossom into a full-blown money and power grab that has the potential to disintegrate the entire family.

In an interview with actor Larry Hagman, star of the ?Dallas? television show, he was asked if art imitated life or vice versa. His reply was the writers did not have to make things up. They simply wrote about what they already knew to be true about family behavior. The family?s behavior on the screen actually paled in comparison to what they knew was taking place in families across America.

The abridged list of behavior is familiar. We, the public, are witnesses to fights between children, even adult children. We read about lawsuits and court battles. A parent or child is declared mentally unfit. There is drug abuse, mental, physical and sexual abuse.

We hear of parents changing wills, disinheriting a child, giving preferential treatment to a child while depriving other children. Children taking assets not belonging to them.

Oh, it?s all legal. Then again, what?s legal is not necessarily morally correct.

It?s disgusting, I know. Unfortunately, it is the state of our human condition.

That said, there are exceptions to the rule. Some people I know have an incredible sense of knowing the right thing to do in nearly every situation. When they do encounter difficulty, they look to other sources of wisdom before taking the next step.

They teach their children to know the difference from right and wrong. They teach them how to get along with each other. They are a model for us by the way they live each day of their lives. They are great examples of the kind of person we want to become.

Does any of this matter to us? Can we affect a change for the better somehow? The answer is, yes, it should matter. And, yes, we can.

Perhaps it would be a good thing to revisit the Book of Proverbs. There?s much wisdom to be had for a small price of our time.

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