Select Page

When people read the description of what I am doing with The Family Institute the line that gets
the most attention is the part of my quote that reads,
“Growing up in a wonderfully dysfunctional family…”
Why the consistent reaction? I believe it is because we all relate to the dysfunction of a family,
but we rarely consider it wonderful. Those laughs are probably due to the irony of the statement
(a humorous and unbelievable juxtaposition). In writing that I wasn’t really trying to be funny
and make light of the dysfunction in families, though humor is an effective tool at
times. Instead, I wrote it because I can truly say that the dysfunction from my family has created
something wonderful; the chaos, frustration, explosions, and pain have all come together to form
a colorful tapestry of who I am today and what I believe is my life message, which is to unlock
family potential.

While I could wish for a healthier, shorter, more carefree path to this juncture in life, I realize
that isn’t what would have prepared me best. I was put in the environment that would help me
learn the skills to appreciate the challenges in family, find order in chaos, learn healthy conflict,
respond rather than react, uncover systems to increase efficiency, define processes to ensure
future success, understand myself and others to build stronger relationships, and learn how to
process pain and forgive others. I am still on that journey and I believe I will be a lifelong
learner in the process.

While I can appreciate my path and the lessons it taught me, I also understand that not everyone
needs to endure the same path. The process can be more direct. Ideally, our kids are launching
with a strong sense of self, and the ability to move forward without being hindered by the past
and the challenges they faced at home. While no family is perfect, it is possible to learn and
grow as you go, rather than live in pain and dysfunction. Much of what I have learned came the
second time around with my own family as I sought to improve on the past and take advantage of
the tools that are more available today. I now realize that the framework I created is what I was
craving as a child. As I study the life stages of development I see the breakdowns and how to
avoid them. I am not a counselor, but rather a consultant, a problem solver and a connector that
wants to help families find a critical path forward to the healthiest, most life-giving organization
that they will ever experience, their family. After all, it is one of the only organizations you will
be a member of for a lifetime.