Granny Gheeta's Views on Feuding FamiliesPublished Feb 20, 2012
Every family has their share of sibling rivalries and feuds that keep the positive emotions of love, honor and respect at bay. Jamaican families are no different from other families around the world. As a matter of fact, Jamaicans as a whole, are more expressive and forthright about their emotions. Therefore, it isn't a surprise to find some family members at "odds" with each other due to the Caribbean nature of "telling it like it is".
It has been my experience, to notice that in other cultures, families tend to put more emphasis on sparing each others' feelings just to keep the synergy of the family running smoothly. It is more important for them to be liked and adored by other family members, as opposed to calling an "ace an ace" when things go awry. On the surface everything seems happy and jolly, yet, beneath the surface, there is so much under-currency brewing.
Granny Gheeta abhorred conflict and contention within families. Although her own family had its share of quarrels and contention, she emphasized on a frequent basis how important it was to have smoothe relations within the family structure.
Granny would comment that most families end up in conflict usually because of petty jealousies or "bad blood" that has been harbored from generation to generation. For instance, one set of family members may have experienced a slight from the 1900's and their offsprings may have grown up with complexes of the particular slight. It then spills over into their relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles from various branches of the family. If the grievance is never aired, it just takes on a life of its own and festers into aggravating sores.
During Granny's life she experienced lots of squabbles among family members, however, she always managed to quell the wars that raged. Sometimes, it was trivial upsets such as sibling rivalry, where one brother or sister displayed their jealousy or ill-will toward another. Granny would confront both parties and tell them, "There are enough strangers outside to come between you and cause unpleasantness. Why are you all making each other unhappy? As you get older, this relationship will be your power and strength."
There were times when Granny had to play Referee between quarreling cousins and extended family members. The arguments became so heated that she often reminded them that the matter was not worth raising their blood pressures or getting sick over it. She encouraged each party to speak their piece, and then to let the situation die a natural death.
Granny would go on with a vengeance, "The world can be a very cold and brutal place, and when others pretend to be your friends and then turn around and shun you. Your brothers and sisters will always be your source of comfort."
She would emphasize, men and women may come and go in your lives, but a brother or sister is forever.
In her young life, Granny had short comings with her own family members, but despite her personal feelings, she never refrained from making herself available to them in their darkest hours.
Granny Gheeta often stressed how imperative it was for a family to show a unified appearance. It was her opinion if others felt there was a window of opportunity for them to get in and cause discord, they would have a field day tearing the family apart. However, with all her teachings and promptings she could not alleviate all the "unburied hatchets" within the family.
There are just family members who would rather revel in hate, criticisms and malice in order to satisfy their own frail egos.
They would prefer to nuture hate, than try to entertain love and good, positive emotions. Granny's response to these folks would usually be, "Well, if he/she wants to be a martyr for satan, there is really not much you can do about it, except pray for them."
One of the qualities I loved about Granny Gheeta was the fact that she was a forthright person. She rarely harbored evil intentions toward another, or carried around unresolved feelings. If someone "mashed her corn", she was going to tell them about it, hash it out, and then get on with life. Once the matter was discussed, she wrapped it up and threw it out as if it were ten day old garbage. The matter was never discussed again. This was an unusaul trait, because in life I have noticed that most people do not posses this quality. They often like to rehash the same argument o-v-e-r and o-v-e-r again.
Granny would tell me, "Magli, it takes a lot of energy to hate, sometimes while nursing the hatred, you begin to forget the reason that started all the animosity in the first place. It is best to preserve a relationship by just agreeing to disagree on a subject. Life is short, and we never know when our last days are. Do we want to live a life of regret because we would rather be self-righteous? Or would we rather have pleasant memories to take us to the great beyond?"
Even at a young age, I knew that Granny made a lot of sense with her arguments. Quarrells, discension and hatred only breed more negative feelings such as anxiety, stress and unhappiness. Family is supposed to be a place where we get our strength, identities and confidence from, and when our familes are divided and unfaithful, our relationship with the world becomes challenged.
Our families show us how to trust, love and relate, and if there are feuds and discord on a continual basis, it makes it exceedingly difficult for us to deal with other, non-related members on a normal, well-adjusted basis. All the negative emotions that have been bestowed upon us by our families rear their ugly heads in our inter-personal relationships.
As a little girl, there were times when I had disagreements with my playmates in the sandbox and I would run crying to Granny, and she would hug and console me saying, "Sweetheart, true love, never runs smoothly, so stop crying. You and your friends, will make-up soon and all will be right with the world again."
Granny taught me a valuable lesson at the tender age of two years old, and I never forgot it. Some relationships are easily repaired by letting time take care of the healing process, but more sensitive souls can attest to the fact, that if someone keeps hurting us again and again, then we need to re-evaluate the relationship. At that point, it becomes a matter of self-love.
As adults, people hurt us and for the most part, we try to practice forgiveness. However, sometimes the hurts are so deep, that it is best to forgive in our hearts and move on.