From the Book: TIME TELLS by Mohamed A. Khalfan – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Small family issues are common as hiccups in life but family problems are not and must not be mistaken as mere small issues. However, there can be a thin line between these two.
No amicable solution is possible without first making a diagnosis of whether it is a delicate family problem or a common family issue as each requires a different tact and approach for address.
It is a family issue when the wife is angry because the husband did not make a telephone call from his work-place to ask if she was feeling better. But it is a family problem if the wife gets angry – very angry – because the husband made a rare surprise telephone
call to find out if she was at home – and well. She had not said that she was unwell when he left for his work place.
The father attempting to reunite his daughter with her husband after a short separation has a problem. However, the father who successfully “faced” the problem should fear a recurrence of the problem.
And the father who successfully “managed” the problem should have much less fear.
The difference is in the thoughts, which are formulated, the consequent words selected and used and the body language applied in solving the problem when it is seen as needing to be “faced” and the same one seen as needing to be “managed”.
A father who thinks he has to “face” the problem in the belief that it does not happen elsewhere has to blame his pessimist mind-frame, and the other father who wants to “manage” the problem knowing that it is common in a family life has to bless his optimist
Often a problem appears much bigger than it is when it first makes a sudden ugly appearance. Therefore, rash decisions are likely or reactions are steered inconsistent with the seriousness of the problem, which is less, only to worsen the problem.
And there is yet another scenario. It is of course, a sign of natural concern to have a fear of a problem, which seems likely to arise, but there is no certainty of it. The problem may indeed show up, if the fear was excessive or caused by a wrong speculation and if
a reaction was set in motion when there was no need for it at that point of time or at all.
Human society is characterised by having various types of problems. These can include social, economic, financial, business, political and ideological ones, but the easiest ones to solve are the family problems, if a right choice of approach and its timing is clicked because normally the concern for a solution is common and sincere. And yet these problems evade solutions because of the human weakness of letting emotions erupt and dictate judgment without a small break for a clear calculated thought over it, and
then such judgment is always flawed if not biased.
It is a cool and composed mind of shared responsibility, working however fast, which musters sobriety to make a solution to happen.
The worst part is to reveal the existence of the problem outside the family, not for seeking advices or guidance discreetly but only to solicit the sentiments of support or sympathy in favour of one party or member of the family against the other party or other members.
The result is the flying rounds of distortion of the information over the problem, and the likely result is anything but a solution to the problem. So if one needs a Family Life one should know about the attendant possibilities of Family Problems and know even better how to “manage” and not “fear” them.
However, there can never be a solution to a problem which exists in imagination or it is an illusion or the one that is wished it was there. Such a state is by itself a serious problem. A spiritual therapy and not a psychiatric one is required. And it is not difficult to find the
“patient” for the therapy in a family because in every big family there are angels and a demon. Emotions, eruptive and excessive, are the demon.
There are examples of admission later that a Family Problem could have been approached or addressed differently, and the disastrous results avoided. And yet, there are also examples of more pain inflicted because a problem was dragged on in a futile attempt for an easy solution when there was none for the liking and the good
There is a catalogue of problems, which are common. The most common family problems are connected with unfair conduct or weak commitment to matrimonial life or mistrust arising from dealings in a business or investment partnership between members of a family., unfair apportioning of house chores in an extended family, or habitual extravagance by one or more members in the family from the family funds.
Another common issue is for the natural changing behaviors and the shifting perspectives of the parents to be misunderstood as they grow very old.
The worst is however, when it comes to sharing of inheritance where a member dies intestate. It is essential that there be the culture of heeding to the Islamic rules of writing and leaving Wills and also reducing into writing any verbal directives or long intentions
regarding gifting of any assets or jewellery, after death, to anyone who is not an heir or acknowledgement of outstanding debts due to other members in the family.
There is one more thing to be noted. It is known that there is normally love for each others in a family. And indeed, it is this love which bonds the members together as a sustainable family.
The problem arises where there is lack of the culture of showing that love by expression and action whenever opportunities present themselves, and such opportunities are not few or far in between where true love resonates in a family.
As a result, good intentions are likely to be misunderstood and fair actions to be misinterpreted to give rise to a family problem.
It is sometimes the head of a family or mostly men in the family who seem to take for granted that the love they have is obviously or strongly and assuredly “felt” by others in the family.
There is nothing so precious for a family as show of love and concern that exist for one another; and yet, there is nothing so disastrous as a family problem that should not have been there and now stubbornly defies a solution.
The choice is there. The wrong one is the real problem with the Family Problems.
Almost all have family issues. The way we manage them is what will make us fortunately different from others.
This publication originally started as print magazine in Nairobi under the auspices of the Haydari Madrasah. Later on, with greater demand for online material and demand to suppress costs as well as reach a wider audience, TC on Friday, became an online "Friday supplement". In the early 2000s, the forum received the support of The World Federation, giving their blessings to the publication as well as helping in its broadcast.
Again, with passage of time, changes are imminent as we now move to a more interactive state - a blog. To this end, I seek the support of all members who can contribute their valuable time and written material to the forum, which is being read all across the world.
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