It was a family holiday.
Extended family members were invited to enjoy a holiday getaway at a beautiful estate nestled among the rolling hills of the great Midwest. The stately mansion was adorned with holiday décor in all its splendor, and the aroma of homemade rolls, spices, and a golden turkey cooked to perfection wafted from the grand dining room.
Sounds like a Norman Rockwell painting, doesn’t it?
People were there. People who were quiet, and people who were loud. People who were meticulously organized, and people who were a whirlwind of chaos. People who loved outdoor adventure and people who loved to stay inside…sitting by the fireplace…reading a book. People who were happily married, and people who were divorced but who showed up for the sake of the children. People who woke up early, singing and laughing, and people who slept late, cringing at the singing and laughing. People who were young and people who were old. People.
So much for Norman Rockwell.
The amazing thing about this week-long retreat was that one person took the lead and decided ahead of time to help every person enjoy their holiday in their way.
Here are some of the actual things she did to accommodate the different personalities represented in the family gathering.
- She learned ahead of time what each person’s favorite foods and snacks were and had plenty of those on hand.
- She had books for those who read and a fire in the fireplace.
- She had horseback rides lined up for the adventurous.
- She had toys for the children and comfortable chairs for the elders.
- She planned games that included everyone.
- She had gathering areas set up and also private spaces.
- She presented very meaningful gifts to each individual, even wrapping them according to personality style – colorful and shiny for the I-wired and neatly trimmed for the C-wired.
- She listened to those who liked to talk and talked to those who preferred to listen.
- She sat with the elders and reminisced; got on the floor and played with the children; went sledding with the teenagers; and watched football with the sports fans.
She left her world and entered theirs…over and over and over. She was an engaged leader.
And so amongst the loud and quiet, the introverts and extroverts, the young and the old, there were no family squabbles. There was connection and honor for each other’s strengths. Every person left, having enjoyed the week in their way.
If you’re going to a family event this holiday, I challenge you to take the role of leader and “leave your world and enter theirs”. Reach out to others and connect with them – not in YOUR way, but in THEIR way.
Have a safe and blessed holiday and know that I am thankful for YOU!