The Good Life -- It's Close to Home

LifeTree News
Creating Prosperity with Harmony
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D. Editor

In this Issue:   The Good Life - It's Close to Home

1.  Welcome:  The Good Life
2.  Is the Family Changing or Declining
3.  Families Awakening and Changing
4.  The Heart of Home
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1.  Welcome: 

Family life is in the midst of change.  Cultural norms are changing as more women are in the work force and more dads are at home.  The economy also has had significant impact on home and family. Since the beginning of the 2008 Great Recession, many homes have foreclosed, suburban mansions have become nearly obsolete, and more families are coming together to live in multigenerational homes. Whether out of wisdom or necessity, almost two thirds of households have cut down their spending.   Many are discovering that the key to well being is not in more spending, but in the richness of our relationships. 

The concept of family is changing.  Where as previously it referred to those of the same bloodline and genetic lineage, family today is expanding to include all with whom we experience an affinity and  emotional bonds.  People are building extended families, neighborhoods, and communities.   Co-housing and other shared housing options are offering more choices for building connection and community.  Now that there are more ways to be part of a family, there are more opportunities to offer our gifts to the people we love. 

Families -- and the communities that support family, are at the core of our well being.  It is family that accepts us as we are, warts and all.  As we turn to each other to give and receive support, we discover a deeper gratification from discovering the strengths that pull us through.  Rather than coming home to stuff, we are coming home to ourselves and each other.

2.  Is the Family Declining or is the Family Changing?

Both -- As we grow and develop old forms which no longer serve us evolve into more sustainable forms.  Here are some forms of family that are declining and new trends that are emerging.

The family for many centuries has functioned to ensure economic stability, to raise children, and to sustain health and care for family members.  Over the last 50 years, consumerism took over many of these functions.  The essential promise of consumerism was that all that was needed for a fulfilling life --  from happiness, to health, and love, could be purchased.  Parents worked to purchase goods and services.  Meanwhile the school, coaches, sitters and day care centers were unwittingly given the responsibility of raising the kids.

The neighborhood, the primary support for family, also lost its traditional function.  Today, the support that used to reside in the neighborhood is now provided by the marketplace.  Instead of being raised by a village, all too often children have been raised by television, cell phones, electronic toys, and marketing.  In the process, families have become fragmented.

Now, 50 years later, a deeper truth has emerged. Once basic needs are met, more money and stuff does not lead to greater happiness.   As families have become  fragmented, divorce rates, crime rates, and suicide rates in youth have climbed. Depression at all ages has soared.   Consumerism is no substitute for our need for human connection.  The fragmentation of family has lead to decline.

3.  Awakening and Changing 

Today, many families are aligning with a depper truth.  We are caring, creative human beings, not just consumers.  People are becoming more aware of their capacities, gifts, and the need for connection.    We have discovered gifts and capacities within ourselves that can substitute for our habit of consumption.  As people connect with others, making their gifts practical and usable, they build an abundance of community.  This supports family.  As families reclaim their functions, they reawaken their power. 

When family and community connections are strong, there is positive child development.  Health improves, the environment is sustained, and people are safer and have a better local economy. The research on this is decisive.
At the core is how we see ourselves.  No longer do we see ourselves as lacking, or needing more stuff for survival, but as capable, caring co-creative beings.  We can take action on the gifts that we already have.     The shift starts within our homes, reducing stuff and making space for our relationships .  As we do so, more energy is becomes available to support the needs of the larger human community.  Come join us as we share this journey.

4.  "The Heart of Home"

Come join our teleconference June 19th," The Heart of Home."   A home is more than a physical building.  It is at the heart of our relationships -- with ourselves, with others, and the environment.   As we release limiting beliefs within ourselves, it impacts how we relate our surroundings.  We develop a broader perspective and an increased capacity to act for the benefit of all.

Three of us will be sharing:  Dr. Jane Granskog, cultural anthropologist, will share on the meaning of place.  I will share on the psychology of happiness and wellbeing, and Samantha Shields, a home energy specialist, will share how to relate to your home surroundings to create positive energy.

Come join us to learn more about "The Heart of Home."  This Teleconference will be held on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 from 9:00 -10:00 AM CDT.  Call 760-569-9000 Access code 308311.

5.  Quotes

Having a place to go -- is a home. 
Having someone to love-- is a family
Having both--is a blessing -- Donna Hedges

Home ought to be a clearinghouse, the place from which we go forth lessoned and disciplined, and ready for life.  Kathleen Norris

Warm Regards,
Dr.  Alice

Resource:

McNight, John, and Block, Peter.  The Abundant Community:  Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods.  San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 2010

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Lifetree News