Let us consider the aspects of family that are both helpful and desirable. It is no surprise that the first thing people check when someone becomes a criminal, a success, a celebrity or even becomes sick is his or her family history. Families have a huge influence in our lives.
Asking families that come for counseling to answer the question, “What are families for?” produces many answers. One answer we have never heard is that, “Families are for joybeing glad to be together.” As a result, few troubled families even think to reach joy, let alone live in joy. Families who are not motivated by joy motivate each other and transact business based on fear and avoiding painusually emotional pain. Who likes to live with people who plan how to hurt you, threaten you and consider it a necessity to make you feel badly? What many people do not realize is that joy is a much deeper and stronger motive than fear and pain. In addition, fear produces badly running brains and families while joy builds strength and character.
Natural families are formed by generations of people who are genetically related to each other. More significantly, natural families have lived together through the critical periods where brain and personality characteristics are “downloaded” from the older brains into younger brains. Spiritual families are formed when we bond deeply with people who have no close genetic link to us. (Munchies Vol. 4.) Just like natural families, not all spiritual families are equally helpful to our growth and maturity. The most common of these spiritual links is found when people form a bond and then marry. The result is the beginning of another stage of the natural family.
There are many forms of spiritual family that are not based on marriage or procreation. These spiritual families form strong parent-child or sibling-sibling bonds through joy, fear or a combination. Spiritual family has the potential to correct or replace the identities, training and bonds formed by the natural family. These corrections are very helpful if the natural family has deficits. Cults exploit these bonds to destroy identities and families for the purposes of the cult.
While the early stages of maturity form our individual identities, the later stages develop our group identity. We change our identity as we go from stage to stage. In order to learn a new maturity stage we need older minds with experience in that level of maturity to share life with us until we have made our metamorphosis. Once we have stepped into a new stage of identity, we need to share life in order to reach our potential. This kind of growth can only happen in a multigenerational family.