I was in a meeting where I was invited to take part in a peculiar game. The instructions were as follows:
1. Bake a cake.
2. There had to be a specified number of players: 10 people, ages between 5 and 90.
3. Each person would act as if they were missing a body part: One pretends to be blind, another one-handed, and another mute, etc.
Note: the ingredients and the recipe were all available on the work table.
This was a metaphor for a family working together. Families are made up of people and people are not perfect. Each has a weakness; maybe someone is not affectionate enough (one-handed), unable to communicate (mute), or to relate with others (blind).
We want to bake a cake together, and we want it to be really tasty (family ties) however we don’t know how to do it with so many handicaps. We require tools, the ingredients and the recipe (which are our attitudes and limits) to help us to reach our goal (baking the cake), in a fitting environment (home).
So, to successfully “bake the cake”, here are some tools that can be useful:
Recognize that we all have strengths and weaknesses. E.g. I’m clumsy, but I joke about it so it isn’t a big deal.
Recognize the emotional ties that bind us
We are parents, children, brothers and sisters, grandparents… We share the same blood! We love and care for each other, so expressing our feelings should be a piece of cake. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture. Try something small, like wishing a good day to your family members with a text message.
Do an activity or bake something together -like the cake. Exercise together or build a piece of furniture, do a day of gardening or watch a movie. Work as a team, where each can show their skills.
Use Your Good Sense of Humor
Joy triggers positive feelings, helps everyone relax and heals wounds. Joking or singing at home enhances bonding.
Listen Carefully and Lovingly to Others
When someone is speaking to us, and we usually have an answer ready in mind, this means we are just listening to ourselves. If we step into other’s shoes, we can understand their feelings and the meaning of what they’re saying.
Don’t Let Troubles Overrun You
Pope Francis was asked what he does when he faces a difficulty, he answered: “First, I don’t get angry. There’s no need for anger, keep your calm. Then, find a way to overcome it, to defeat it. And, if I cannot overcome it, I endure it, until there’s a way of overcoming it. No… You must never be afraid of trouble, never be frightened. We are able to overcome them all. We only need time to understand, intelligence to find the way, and courage to move forward, but you must never be afraid.”
A closely knit family is possible when all its members recognize each other in the group and decide to grow together, peacefully building on everyday life so you can have your cake and eat it too!
Try not to lose sight of this simple reality: Family Is a Blessing!