Putting the “Unity” in CommUNITY
Are you planning a fourth of July cookout with your extended family? Are you worried that politics is going to prevent you from enjoying that yummy potato salad? It doesn’t have to. Now is the time for a temporary truce instead of family conflict. If we work together we can put family tension aside and put the unity in community.
Avoiding a Political Minefield this Fourth of July
- Set the rules before the fourth of July. Don’t wait until your uncle is grilling the burgers to resolve family conflict. Start having open-hearted conversations now! In fact, send a mass email to all of the fourth of July cookout attendants. Come up with ground rules together so no one spoils the family picnic.
- Plan distractions. Want to relieve some family tension? Having some pre-planned distractions on hand can help. Fortunately, Independence Day has a lot of celebratory distractions you can choose from. Cities and towns across the country generally have parades, firework displays, or festivals. Your family can bond over these activities instead of fighting.
- Have a safe word. Politics seems to be everywhere nowadays; so much so that a pleasant conversation about the weather or fashion can easily lead to a heated political debate. Having a preplanned code word like “minefield” can help each family member remember their promise of a politics-free picnic.
- Think before you speak. To truly keep the peace it’s important that you police your own thoughts and words. Before you bring up a topic of conversation ask yourself whether or not your words could lead to a heated debate.
- Take note of your behavior. It’s not just your words that can cause a conflict–it’s your behavior as well. Stay calm and avoid raising your voice. If you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated take a break or go for a walk.
- Listen and be respectful. Listening is a humbling, mindful practice. Show that you care for the other person by being respectful of their opinion. Listen carefully to what the other person has to say without being defensive–this is the best way of preventing family conflict.
Bonus. Need more tips on putting the unity in community? Check out these Mindful tips for how to disagree the right and healthy way.