Touch or contact?
Let’s start from the supposition that family is the basic support of society, which should be dominated by harmonious relations of love and respect among its different members. This initial supposition is usually accomplished during the early years of family coexistence, in which their members (parents and children, on the theory) maintain close contact, and often begins to become complicated from the time when the children start to live their own lives independently.
This process of independence from the family unit is a natural process which is related to the development of their own personality as individuals, and sometimes it can also be combined with emotional or geographical separations. I would like to talk about the families that during the whole year don’t have a continuing relationship, either because they live in distant cities, or due to problems in maintaining their relationship: Sons that go to study in faraway cities; people who find a job in a different city (or in another country); family disputes that provoke relationship problems; irreconcilable differences; divorces, etc.
So, it produces a rupture in the continuity of family relations, which may affect (or not) the initial harmony, that in theory, should reign in this relationship. This break in the continuous relationship may have different effects:
- Coldness, a progressive cooling of the relationship.
- The “mountain” effect, give more importance to some things that really have, turning a small problem (a grain) into something over dimensioned (a mountain).
- Idealization, if you’re in a hostile or unpleasant environment, the “come back home” desire is idealized in extreme.
Another possibility is that any of these cases occur, when the foundation of family relationships are based on the respect and trust between their members, and the rupture is understood inside the personal development process and assumed in self-confidence of all of them. So, we come to the heart of the matter: Touch or contact? In my opinion, in many cases, the distance between family members leads to the cooling off of relationships, which are maintained by social conventions, but can appear at any given moment.
Practical example. The Spanish custom (I think in other countries too) of meeting the whole family at a traditional Christmas dinner, with abundant food irrigated with a good wine, champagne, etc., and then sometimes things happens, sparks flies… What goes on under the table? At the first moment all seems fine, but in the middle, the nice Christmas feeling of love, crashes in discussions about themes that were hidden.
Parents want to have the highest reason, as always. The independents sons, returned with new and different ideas. Some of them even come with their partners, who also have their own opinion. The brothers-in-law, the fathers in law, we must to speak about something (sports, politics, education of children, and the suit you wear…) THE BIG BANG!
This is a small example, at Christmas (think about your own experience). I think all of us could have had good or unpleasant experiences, in which all the opinions that were hidden exploit and demonstrate how that kind of those family gatherings are artificial and force, or not. Each one does with his life what he wants, it is clear. In my opinion, touch and contact are very important to maintain a good familiar relation, and if this relationship has been based on in respect and truth, it’s a real nice family reunion (there’s nothing better), all it’s OK… and if not… we can think they are just two days, and eat so much and think little.
In my case, when I was in the Army, I remember an obnoxious TV spot of a brand of “turrones” ( a typical Spanish Crhistmas dessert) named “The wolf”: “Return, return home for Christmas”. The idealization of the household, reinforced by publicity and consumption. BROUARGH! (Sorry). At least, the “turron” was good.