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Making family a comfort zone

“I am very fond of dreams in families…….Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies.”

Making family a comfort zone

By Joe Palathunkal
Family as a comfort zone is the most significant foundation for human development, human progress and the collective progress of humanity. Today, this comfort zone is totally disturbed and shattered for various reasons, and this disturbed condition varies in degrees from region to region and community to community. In India as million mutinies are in vogue as V. S. Naipaul says, this disturbance is very high and as a result we are on a laborious hurdle race for the development of our nation. To make family a comfort zone, we have to synchronize the following three levels of comfort zones:

1. Physiological
2. Psychological
3. Sociological

A comfort zone is a state of wellbeing where a person feels secure, anxiety free, fearless and also a sense of belonging and being wanted. For this the most basic is to have a physiological comfort zone. Human beings need a good physical structure to live or what we call house. But millions around the world do not have one and that is a harsh fact.

In India we speak about ‘roti, kapada, makan’ (food, clothing, house) and in a country millions are deprived of these three, the families are in a disturbed zone. Jesus taught us to ask our heavenly Father “Give us today our daily bread” and in the last judgment he would say – “I was hungry, you gave me food; I was naked, you clothed me.” In a world where millions do not have these essentials, families will be in disturbed zone.

Next is psychological comfort zone which can be created only when each member of the family loves the other genuinely and from the heart. Very often petty issues disturb this psychological comfort zone and what is needed is a sensitive mutual understanding. Modern life has more than enough factors to disturb the psychological comfort zone. Time schedule of the work and its strains, parents giving enough time for children, and children giving enough time for parents, alienation of parents and children and among children, all these are serious issues.

In such a situation always remember what Eric Fromm says: “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Then as Christians we must think why Jesus insisted so much on love. Family prayer is another effective step to maintain the psychological comfort zone.

Now we come to the sociological comfort zone and in least educated regions of the world the sociological comfort zone is the most disturbed because anybody and everybody can mislead and bully illiterate people easily and reinforce irrational ideas and values. That does disturb very much family as a comfort zone.

But if we can keep family as a comfort zone, then each member will develop ability to dream for the good of the whole family. Each family member need to dream about the other without infringing on the dream of the other. If there is true love between family members, then my dream will not become a hurdle for the dream of my brother or sister, the dream of parents for the children. Let each one dream in love for each other and if not whatever may be the comfort zone, a family will not grow. Listen to the words of Pope Francis:

“I am very fond of dreams in families…….Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies.”

If you don’t want that to happen, keep each member of your family in your loving dream and grow in love, the path shown by the Holy Family.

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living In Faith)

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