He Said, She Said: Current events divide Family Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
ImageBy Shaun and  Pamela Collins
Special to GUIDON
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I didn’t think my Family could get any more divided than we were at a recent gathering. We have members of the Family split about recent events in the news. How can I get my Family to get together again in a civil setting? I know time heals all wounds, but our recent arguments were bad. I am not sure we can fix this.

HE SAID:  There are so many things that can divide a Family and it’s almost never a single issue; rather, it is generally an inability to communicate effectively, listen to one another and be willing to truly understand why others have chosen to believe the way that they do. 

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, we should do twice the listening as we do talking. The frustration that builds up by everybody feeling like they are not being heard is generally what becomes the root of such division. 

In my opinion, you have two basic options.

You can create boundaries that limit the hostility or at least its impact on you. Second, the more difficult and ultimately only real solution, is to engage in courageous communication and to address the root problem, which is that all of you have already made up your minds and are trying to impose your beliefs on everyone else. 

You must understand you can never impose your beliefs on others, they must find their own way to their own truth. 

Get everyone to agree that “we have not handled this issue well” and that “because we love each other, it’s better for all of us to adjust to how we communicate to not only salvage our personal relationships, but also help us grow to an entirely new level.”

The best of luck to you, none of us are always right, nor should we ever aspire to be.

SHE SAID:  It seems many are feeling your pain. Divisiveness can reach across Families, friends, and acquaintances.

It is sad, and I’m not sure what the solution is for your Family, it may start with some ground rules. Clearly, there are opinions about topics that cause others to bristle. On the other hand, I am a firm believer that if you search and dig hard enough, you will find you have something in common with every person you meet. In a Family, the possibility is inevitable. You can start by reaching out to Family members and talking to them about any other topic not in the news to mend fences.

With that said, also understand that putting the entire Family back together isn’t your sole responsibility. These people are all adults and are making adult decisions. If they choose to distance themselves from loved ones simply because they don’t see eye to eye, that is on them. 

 (Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the  writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 August 2017 )