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Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I like to give credit where credit is due. Shel Miller gets credit from me for an outstanding turn of a phrase. Shel is a PhD, who describes himself as a relationship builder. He ended up in a forwarded email, which led me to a blog he had written in 2005 about the fact that he was a "psychological event planner."

The idea is compelling. I have been thinking about this since reading about it. I had never realized the need for this job description before. But, being a student of Bowen Theory and knowing the importance and significance of life events (births, deaths, birthdays, graduations, sporting events, weddings, showers) for the family system, I was intrigued by the idea and took it a bit further.

Participating and observing the nodal events in my life has been a priority since becoming a student of Bowen family systems theory. I have attended family life events, as many as I could, and have become known as showing up dependably whenever more than two family members get together. I am teased by my children and sisters for not being able to miss a good funeral . However, my effort has proven to be a great teacher. I have the invaluable experience of being with my family at emotional times and observing how my family, as a system, operates in times of change. I had never thought that beyond observing there might be a world of additional challenge and intrigue. If I consider how to respond to any event, as an emotional event, I might find interesting outcomes. It certainly made me think differently. It gave me some next steps.

What would it take to think about the emotional component of a family life event, such as a birth or a death, and use it for a new kind of engagement between me, as the event planner, and the family—an engagement that might stretch what it is that I wanted to talk about and what I would address? As an "event planner" in my own life, can I think about the relationships and test my ability to be a self in the middle of the people, who matter the most and to whom I am most sensitive?

One small outcome from thinking about family events. Today I am heading off to my niece's college graduation. She is the daughter of my sister Mary, my sister next in line to me in the four-sister family line up.
I am thinking about this "event" differently. I have known Ani's Dad for many years but I have missed the chance to really know him since he lives in Brazil. He has been on the outside of a tight family group.
At this graduation I will take the time and make the effort to hear about his life and to communicate how much he has added to my niece's life. I will make a different kind of effort.

I think that this may even be a reason to produce Event Planner 2.

Filed under Bowen family systems theory, Family

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