Enough time has passed since the recent holidays for me to have developed some perspective on how best to operate during these times.
Watching family systems working over the holidays is a seminar in anxiety management. I don’t know where I once heard that family gatherings bring out the best and worst in us, but after more than 60 years of experience, I agree. I have and still do my share of contributing to both.
Watching family behaviors when everyone is thrown together, against the wishes of at least some, is a learning laboratory for leadership development.
I have learned to practice a stubborn cheerfulness during family gatherings. One can count on more than one mandatory conversation with a family members that will be full of criticism; of another member; the state of the world; why a football team is losing; whatever.