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Asking, assuming or demanding

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Andy and Renie Bowman

By Dr. Andy and Renie Bowman

A gripe taken from the lips of one frustrated lady, who was recently overheard in a public place.

“I had the family holiday dinner at my house last week, just like I have for years. My daughter was to bring most of the food – including the cranberry dish that she knows to always bring. But this year, for some unknown strange reason, she brought everything else, except the cranberries. Good grief, she knows that is my favorite dish.”

When the person who was listening sympathetically to this tale of woe asked her if she had reminded the daughter to bring that particular holiday dish, she answered, “Well, no. But she should know that she has to bring the cranberries. After all, she always has, all these years.”

Oh, my. So much gone wrong – on so many levels.

First of all – can anyone say "ungrateful attitude?" 

“She brought most of the food…but not my cranberries that I love.”  

Now, I realize that I wasn’t there, so I can’t really know – maybe the lady did tell her daughter how much she appreciated the cooking, the cost and the love involved in providing everything. I certainly hope so. 

It also seems the mother made the bad mistake of just assuming that her daughter would walk through Mom’s door toting the cranberries. It would have solved so much if Mom would have asked her daughter beforehand to once again provide her famous dish. And if she didn’t, that family may have a problem in the making. 

Because assuming her daughter will buy, cook, and bring everything for the table – like she always does – can begin to create some hidden or unhidden resentment in the daughter. Being taken for granted is never an easy part to play, and most of us endure it unwillingly.

People, what a missed opportunity! A chance to praise, to affirm, and to be gracious. And because I am meddling in another family’s business (and I do realize that fact) I’m going to say something else, and here it is: “Mom, maybe it’s time for somebody else to also volunteer, to help in providing and cooking some of the dinner.”

Sometimes as times goes by, we family members just fall into habits. 

“So-n-so always brings the meat for our get-togethers,” so nobody else even thinks about helping in that area. 

Well, maybe someone needs to ask ol’ so-n-so if he still wants to buy, cook, and bring the meat year after year. Or if would he like a break or some help.

My point is this: Just make certain, every once in a while, that So-n-so still wants to play that role, so that resentment doesn’t rear its ugly head and ruin what was once a good thing for your family.

Common courtesy and common sense combined with open communication goes a long way to having family times that everyone enjoys.

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