The purpose of the Family Matters column is to inform, rekindle and inspire a renewed effort in improving family well-being in our community. It takes the awareness and commitment of a community to provide, promote and enhance family well-being.

We all can agree that our family is the heart, soul and center of our well-being. What goes on there ripples throughout every facet of our day and life. And yet, how often does our desire to have good relationships and improved communication with our loved ones get overwhelmed and overshadowed by the noise and hectic pace of our daily lives? Well, this column will provide an opportunity for you to reflect and refocus on what you have claimed is the most important factor to your happiness– that is, the quality of your relationships with family and friends.

But that’s not all. Reminding is a good first step. Our purpose, you as reader myself as author, is not just to understand what gets in the way of building love in our families, but to also see the behaviors that, with self-awareness, can be changed. To start it is simple: do something better, be a little kinder, add something positive to your present repertoire. This practice of gaining an understanding of family dynamics and adopting supportive habits is aimed at the prevention and reduction of family problems and stress that erode family well-being. We repair and rebuild one brick at a time, one kind thought at a time, one thoughtful word at a time and one meaningful deed at a time.

You will come to see “Family Matters” as a printed roadmap for a journey of self-improvement.  And it’s free, every week, for you, your neighbors and co-workers in the Lakes Region, and for any loved one, just clip the column and send it!  (There you go, that’s one meaningful gesture). The only cost to you is your effort. It only takes one pebble dropped into the Lake to start the ripple effect.

I expect this column will provoke questions. Some of your questions I will answer (anonymously) in this column, while most common and fundamental questions will be answered on my website ( www.familyconsultationservices.com ). No doubt, your antenna is usually up looking for ways to improve family harmony and well-being. This column is all about education, prevention, and living happier every day.

Browsing this column, you will get some practical ideas. Reading regularly, you will develop a new way of viewing family relationships. Being born into a family and raised by one doesn’t make any of us experts on what really makes them tick. The problem is when our family is having stress we are usually to close to the fire to see what is really happening. But I will be sharing with you some of the information and concepts that I have learned as a family therapist– so that hopefully, you will be better prepared never to have to go see one in person.

Follow the articles in this column every week and I can almost guarantee improvement in your family relationships. Families are very complicated, and yet, it only takes one person to begin changing a relationship. It doesn’t matter where you begin; it only matters that you begin. And by following your journey’s roadmap in a community paper, you know you won’t be alone.

Let’s Talk more about this article online at: www.familyconsultationservices.com/articles

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