Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Politics, Religion and Family

Recently, I posted a slightly snarky comment on Facebook regarding "10.2% unemployment" and "change".

My sister responded with her own comment, which is decidedly further left than my own position.  Now Thanksgiving is coming up and, as we do each year, we will all (my brother, my sister and her "partner" and all of our respective children, spouses and grandchildren) converge on my parent's home for the hyper-calorie fest.  There will be ham, turkey, scads of casseroles, a passel of pies and who knows what else to fill 48 hours of family fun.

What won't be there?  Religion and politics.  Oh, I'll be asked to lead the blessing at meals, but that will be my father's token approval of my conversion to the Church.  They aren't an atheistic or agnostic lot, so that helps.  But as long as we don't cross those lines, we all get along just fine.

But when someone steps over the line, they really step into it.

So my new policy, beginning with last year's ode to gluttony, was to reject any efforts to goad me broach these areas.  No politics or religion.  If they have a question, I'll be happy to answer, but I won't debate it or try to convince anyone of anything.  It isn't easy either--both subjects are near and dear to me.

This was a tough call.  My kids love to visit the farm and make plans for "cookie week"--where all of the kids old enough to use the bathroom on their own spend a full week in December making cookies with their grandmother.  My married children bring their kids and share their own joy from childhood.  It is a special time for everyone.

[My folks are 69, so they are still young enough to handle the hustle and bustle.]

So you'd think my parents, siblings and I would be more like-minded.

My brother, divorced forever ago, and his kids come with his grandchild from his daughter, an unwed mom.  My sister and her "partner" bring their boys, two great twin fireballs (anonymous donor, of course).  Both of them represent living "proof" that these modern choices are just "fine".  Everyone is happy.  Everyone is satisfied with where they are in life.

At first I thought that sharing all of this would be too much information, but then I realized that lots of families are like this.  The only one uncomfortable is me.  I'm the only traditional member of my family (out of my parents and siblings) left.  I've been married for 27 years, 8 kids and 5 grandchildren.

I'm trying to let my example speak instead of my words.  But sometimes the roar of silence is deafening.

I extended the policy to Facebook, and probably offended my sister in the process.  I'm not willing to "poison the well" before I get dessert.

How do you handle these things in your extended families?  Am I alone?  Thank goodness we don't have alcohol...

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