It’s summertime, and the living might not be so easy if you’re planning a Family Reunion. Your checklist is ever-growing, from logistics, to activities, to dealing with all of the colorful personalities that make your family unique. Think you can please everyone? Think again.
As in life, communication when planning a Family Reunion is vital. Make sure your fellow committee members understand what you expect of each other. To say the least, returning phone calls, answering texts and/or emails, and obviously in a timely fashion, is a top priority. Otherwise, how would any decisions be finalized? Also as in life, be nice to each other. If you don’t like your sister’s idea of a pie-eating contest, gently suggest that since diabetes runs in the family, maybe a watermelon seed-spitting contest might be an alternative.
Ideally, I’d like you to keep it simple and limit the planned activities to one or two. Then let the rest just happen organically. But if you’re not comfortable with less structure, there are lots of articles online to help you with all of the planning details. Try not to get overwhelmed when figuring everything out and remember to delegate, capitalizing on everyone’s individual strengths.
Now that you’re on track for the event-planning, have you given any thought to managing the various personalities? What if the conservatives and liberals in your family start a shouting match? What if your cousin Jason’s daughter bites your sister’s grandson? Worry no more. Family Mediator to the rescue! What’s important to remember here is that if the conflict isn’t about you, don’t try to fix it. Instead, simply slink away. But if the annoying relative aims at you, check out my survival suggestions from last Thanksgiving.
In an effort to keep your Family Reunion Perspective, maybe your planning committee can create a unique Mission Statement for the event. I suspect it’s not going to be about who’s purchased a new Tesla, or which kids are on the honor roll. Focusing on what your family has in common, from the stories of the generations past to the ties that will carry your family forward, will set a positive intention for everyone attending.
And speaking of the stories, may I share that I am the designated Memory Keeper in my family? I have a treasure-trove of stories that my family loves hearing over and over. (Cindy in the hamper; Kimmy’s love note on her mattress; Mom’s jury duty experience — I could and do go on and on.) Do you have a Memory Keeper in your family? Perhaps you might find one at your own Family Reunion. Then start sharing (and recording) those stories with your own Memory Keeper. I suspect the stories will outlive every future Family Reunion and serve as a loving and positive reminder for current family members as well as for generations to come. Can you imagine how our great-great grandchildren will laugh about our smart phones?