In keeping with an old tradition of including recipes in columns and blogs, here’s what I believe has gone into giving me a gourmet family.
Take a very large bowl of Upbringing. Family starts with the people who raise you. If they’ve stocked all the ingredients in this recipe, you have a strong backbone for a family that functions mostly in synch and has the ability to get over the bumps in life together. I’ve been feeding off the pantry of basics my parents gave me all my life.
Add several cups of Commitment. To be able to stir the ingredients of a family together and make the recipe work, family members have to commit to the cooking process no matter how hot the kitchen gets. My family is devoted to the concept that there is strength in numbers and we will work together to see that our unit and its extensions succeed
Spice it up with several tablespoons of Diversity. A family of Stepford Wives begets a family of Stepford Wives. Families that recognize that reality see the benefits of allowing diversity into the picture. Instead of looking for ways to convert each other to our wide offering of political and religious opinions, and lifestyles, we’ve found ways to embrace the differences and fold them gently into the mix.
Add as much Pragmatism as your larder can spare. When we’re working together on a problem, we try to put on our realism aprons, even though that’s sometimes very hard. We list the resources we have to help and discuss how best to use those resources. Pragmatism is a trait more plentiful in certain family members, and too much of it can create an aftertaste. But it’s a powerful ingredient when used right.
Scrape together the Luck your households have had, then add it to the batch. Like yeast in bread, this ingredient depends not so much on amount as patience for what it can do. My family hasn’t had many major bouts of bad luck, nor have any of us hit the lottery. But what we’ve experienced, we’ve been grateful for, and we’ve shared it among family members.
Pour in a few cups of Compassion. We have no one in our family who was born without the gene for compassion, and we all recognize how rare that is. We also know for a recipe to work the best—to accomplish our goal of mixing luck, diversity and commitment and getting a batter that’s not lumpy, we have to have compassion for each other.
Finally, use a big wooden spoon of Humor to blend it all together because if there’s one thing being part of a family requires, it’s the ability to laugh.