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As a worldwide group, something magical happens in Islam.
Muslims are much more emotionally united than other faiths. Look at how the Muslim on hearing news that another Muslim in some far off country has suffered harm. It gets very upset far more than one would expect from someone who is essentially a stranger in another land.
There is something very deeply tethering and rooted about just being a Muslim in the world. It is a community which feels its pain, and shares its joys more acutely than most.
You would do well to feel that brotherhood.
The next exercise then it looks at how to be closer to our family.
Families relate more deeply with their emotions and egos then with just the intellect. So you should expect these things to be quite helpful in families more helpful than they appear. Firstly, just talking.
Any chatter is more important than what's being talked about.
Simply talking with family, exchanging greetings and making small talk is incredibly bonding.
There is a natural connection that is formed, there is the assumption that they are together, that they are close in some way.
hierarchy in families is something that we must acknowledge. Seniors like to be respected, and they like to be deferred to and consulted, even if it's just symbolic. Think about this and keep this in mind. Refer to your seniors, asking them for permission, or at least letting them know when you're planning to do something even if it is just ornamental.
Thirdly, collectivism. In a family, sharing each other's things is preferred and expected. You should be prepared to lend or asked to borrow.
you loosen your boundaries as to your possessions in a family. And we try not to be offended when people take things of ours without asking.
This is one of the joys of family that we can share our resources. Yes, we have our privacy's and those we can define. However, we lower our level of disappointment or anger if somebody makes an incursion into our privacy.
Fourthly, families show rallying,
families rally together to support someone regardless of what they did. If somebody suffers some bad event, or even makes a big mistake, families will rally around to support them, regardless of what they did, who was to blame or what happened. We lower our ability to judge other people in the family, because we love them.
Sure, we might help them to learn, but above everything else, we love them, and we forgive them.
Finally, gatherings, gatherings in the family are ritualized, and they're important. And they're easier than ever nowadays, especially with virtual means.
Seeing the face and having a conversation with someone in the family, however distant is a bonding experience, enjoying the small talk with them, deferring to them if they are above us in the hierarchy, sharing each other's things, and rallying around them to show support. These ingredients together are the things that make a family distinct.
Now we can look at habits or actions which concretely improve our relationships with family members. Firstly, give gifts frequently. It is a Sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him who loves to exchange gifts of sweets, perfumes and honey.
You don't have to spend a lot on a gift. Just show something that is thoughtful and keeps the recipients tastes in mind.
Secondly, you can approach a family member with the idea of what little thing can I do to make that person happy today?
Like in an earlier chapter, when we were defining ways to make Daisy more distinct,
what little thing can I do to make this person happy today,
the smallest acts of thoughtfulness bring love, a gentle conversation, a handy note, a small gift, or taking some kind of chore or burden off their hands. That's all it takes. And for the effort that you expend, the return is tremendous. You have participated and effectively brought the family closer together.
When you've tried to make someone else in the family happy.
Thirdly, contact a regular phone call that Sunday night chat with the loved ones is treasured, and often surprisingly helpful. older members of the family especially treasure their time when the younger folk get in touch with them, you may not have much to say, there may be nothing new. But as I mentioned earlier, the simple act of conversation is much more important than what is talked about.
Another way to increase the family bonding is to increase its identity. And that can be done by understanding our family history.
You could do this by speaking to some of the older members, or members in parts of the family you're not so familiar with. Ask them about their lives. What was life like? Where do we come from? What were our grandparents or great grandparents, like? What kind of tradesmen what kind of calamities and victories have our families had?
These things are incredibly useful because they feed into the idea of narrative.
strong families have a strong narrative. They know about where they come from. They know their history. To have a strong narrative builds strength, it builds respect, and a strongly bonded culture, which reflects your family values, and is confident in how your family is based.
Finally, one surprisingly useful tactic, asking for advice and help.
Perhaps working in a company or with unrelated people, asking for help and advice is seen as something which draws upon their effort.
In families, it tends to work the other way. When you ask for advice and help sharing a problem creates unity.
It reinforces the sense of interdependency. Many people in the family are only too willing and happy to demonstrate that they are useful if you borrow something from them, or if you ask them for some advice. They would be much keener to do it with you compared to somebody who is unrelated.
It gives a sense of interdependency that I mentioned earlier. interdependency is the lifeblood of family bonding.