Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 43: FAMILY CONFLICTS

Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is FAMILY CONFLICTS. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.

All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD! 

Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world.  The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority. 

Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!

Opening Meditation
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:

O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.

The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.

Opening Thoughts
The leader or an appointed person will stand and read the opening thoughts. The opening thoughts explain the topic of discussion. You may use the information below or explain it in your own words.

Today’s meditation is on Family conflicts. Family conflicts refer to disagreements within the family. Disagreements could stem from miscommunication, rivalry, drinking alcohol, drug use, power struggle, intolerance, different priorities, misunderstanding, abuse, infidelity, abusive utterances and other actions. Research shows that a certain level of conflict in a family is normal as long as it is resolved but lack of any conflict is abnormal. In general conflicts are stressful and our tendency is to get out of the conflict through resolution or simply abandoning the family. Teens run away, parents seek divorce and children are sent to foster homes. In short the family is broken if conflicts are not resolved. This presentation will look at the faces of family conflicts and suggest ways to manage family conflicts.

Famous Quotes
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote.  Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.

1 Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. William James
2 Family is about giving 100% of what you have to the family. Dr. Sonari
3 Only in love are unity and duality not in conflict.  Rabindranath Tagore
4 The dearest possession a man has is his family. In the divine assurance that family ties may transcend the boundaries of death, and may continue throughout endless ages of eternity, I find supreme consolation and inspiration. David McKay
5 Understanding and connection can transcend conflict." Marshall B. Rosenberg
6 There are no adequate substitutes for father, mother, and children bound together in a loving commitment to nurture and protect. No government, no matter how well-intentioned, can take the place of the family in the scheme of things. Gerald R Ford
7 The practice of patience toward one another, the overlooking of one another's defects, and the bearing of one another's burdens is the most elementary condition of all human and social activity in the family, in the professions, and in society. Lawrence G Lovasi
8 The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family. Thomas Jefferson
9 Family quarrels are bitter things. They don't go by any rules. They're not like aches or wounds; they're more like splits in the skin that won't heal because there's not enough material. F Scott Fitzgerald
10 Look for the good, not the evil, in the conduct of members of the family. Proverb by Anonymous

Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found. 

1 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Christianity, New Testament: Colossians 3:13
2 If you desire to obtain help, put away pride. Even a hair of pride shuts you off, as if by a great cloud. Shinto. Oracle of Kasuga
3 Every person has both a bad heart and a good heart. No matter how good a man seems, he has some evil. No matter how bad a man seems, there is some good about him. No man is perfect. Native American Religions. Mohawk Tradition
4 The mind is said to be twofold: The pure and also the impure; Impure--by union with desire; Pure--from desire completely free. Hinduism. Maitri Upanishad 6.34
5  Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. Christianity, New Testament: James 4:11
6 Selfishness may be sweet only for oneself, but no harmony of the whole can come from it. Tenrikyo. Osashizu
7 Five are the robbers lodged in this body--Lust, wrath, avarice, attachment, and egoism. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sorath, M.3, p. 600
8 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”Judaism, Tanakh: Proverbs 22:6
9 The self is the one invincible foe when acting with the four cardinal passions: anger, pride, deceitfulness, and greed. Jainism. Uttaradyayana Sutra 23.38
10 "When the family is ruined, the timeless laws of family duty perish; and when duty is lost, Chaos overwhelms the family." Hinduism: Bhagavad-Gita 1:40

Teaching Story
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?

Our teaching story is on Family Counseling to help marriages in trouble. Once upon a time divorce was very rare because almost everyone was either an arbitrator or a family counselor. The people realized that most disagreements were misunderstandings that could easily be resolved. Parents took it upon them selves to make sure that their children remain married and if that did not work other family members joined the parents to bring the troubled couples back together. It was only in rare cases that divorce was permitted by the families and in such cases the children often went to the mother. Things are a little different in our modern society. Surely everyone still wants couples to remain married and some religions do not even have an option for divorce. Because of the sacredness of marriage some lawyers even engaged in family counseling. For instance when couples went for divorce consultation the lawyers often played the part of a counselor to reunite the couples. In most cases the lawyers succeeded in helping the couples to stay married. This translated into a decrease in the divorce rate in society. The lawyers took credit for the decrease in the divorce rate but they also realized that they were not making money by counseling their clients to remain married. Meanwhile the lawyers reconsidered their responsibilities as lawyers and decided to abandon the counseling function. The moment they changed from being counselors to lawyers the divorce rate skyrocketed with more money for the lawyers. Meanwhile the government became concerned about the increasing divorce rate and instituted a program to help troubled couples to remain married. The program encourages troubled couples to seek family members and family counselors before seeking the lawyers. From all indications the program is working and the lawyers are deeply concerned.

Closing Meditation
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study.  The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.

Our closing Meditation will address the causes of family conflicts and how to resolve the conflicts.

1 Miscommunication: Saying the wrong thing could start a conflict. Check your information well before sharing it, more especially when the information concerns the other person. Sometimes we cannot avoid miscommunication but our loving attitude toward the person could change everything. This attitude could be as simple as saying “I’m sorry that I hurt you with my statement”
2 Misunderstanding: Language could often get us in trouble. When next you are misunderstood try restating your intention. If that did not help you can always accept your mistake and apologize.
3 Physical and Mental Abuse: Physical and mental abuse are recipes for conflict. How could you abuse those that you love? It does not make sense. Seek help before it gets too late. Consequences include divorce, losing custody of your children and jail time.
4 Rivalry: Rivalry is often found between siblings and couples. A healthy approach to rivalry could be a good thing in the sense that it would influence productivity in the family when siblings are given work to do and they compete to determine who would finish first. But rivalry that results in resentment, name calling and abuse is a recipe for family conflicts. When there is no love couples become rivals as to who would earn more money, who would buy the next great vehicle, etc. In effect you are not really in love. Take a step back and become a loving couple and that means working together for the family and not to advance your ego.
5 Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Alcohol and drug problems are causes of conflicts. Quite often one person abuses alcohol or drugs and starts a fight. The addict begins to bring up things from the past that have not been resolved and sometimes things get out of hand and someone gets hurt. In cases of alcohol and drug abuse the wise thing to do is to seek professional help immediately.
6 Power Struggle: Some religions spell out who is the head of the family but I prefer a shared leadership in the family. In other words each makes decisions in their areas of expertise but in consultation with the spouse. For instance, if one person is more qualified in a certain area like family finance let the person make the decision. 
7 Intolerance: Intolerance can lead to conflicts. “My way or no way” does not work in the interest of the family; it works to satisfy the ego. Successful couples leave their egos at the temple gate and move in with compassionate love.
 8 Different Priorities: Different priorities could be a source of conflict without some form of communication. Share your needs and wants with each other. Include the children in your discussions to get new insights.
9 Finance: Financial issues have often contributed to family conflicts. Usually a person withdraws lots of money without the other person’s knowledge. The other extreme is when the couple or family is hurting for money. In other words there is no money to buy the necessary things for living. I know from personal experience that one could have no money to his or her name if you do not have a job and there are cases about people not having jobs for 2 to 3 years. If you are hurting for money because of lack of employment you need to act fast and get whatever legal job you can get to earn an income. On the other hand if you are withdrawing money from the family account without your partner’s knowledge you need to stop it and confess before it is too late.
10 Infidelity: This is one of the popular causes of conflict. It is popularly known as cheating in marriage. Cheating could be motivated by the culture in which you live or by individual issues. As the name implies if you are "cheating" something must be wrong. However I can hear someone say that "but my spouse approves of it." Presently I do not understand the mentality of sharing spouses but if you are "cheating" I think it is better to seek a professional help.

On the whole let us remember William James for his Quote: Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that could make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.

The family is important to us because it is the foundation of society. A bad family reflects a bad society and a good family reflects a good society. Most if not all of us want a good society where there is peace and harmony. Looking at society in the past few months all over the world we can hardly say that we live in a peaceful and harmonious society. We may ask what went wrong or what have we done wrong? In answering both questions let us all go back to our families and share love and peace.

You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations.

Closing Prayer
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer.

You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Study Program.

Talent Contribution
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a good time to share some Awakened Living tips for the benefit of the group. 

Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.

There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.

1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods, etc?

1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?

1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?

1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?

1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?

1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?

Personal Development
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?

1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?

1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?

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