Friday, October 17, 2008

Slight Trajectory Adjustment

When I think of the word, "trajectory," I think of an object in motion headed toward something else. I think not only of the present location of the object, but also of the direction, the speed, and the potential impact of the object. Maybe it is like canoeing down a river.

Stepfamilies have trajectories. Certainly the question, "Where are we as a stepfamily?" is a really important question, but so it, "Where are we going?" That is the trajectory question.

For some stepfamilies, just asking the question is frightening. "Where are we going?" It can feel like canoeing through raging rapids and being afraid to ask about upcoming waterfalls.
The problem with canoeing down a river is that you can't just turn around and go back. But in stepfamilies, some people long to do just that. There is no turning around. That is the bad news. The good news is that you do not have to go ver that waterfall. A slight change in trajectory is what is needed. If we could get everyone paddling on the same side of the canoe, we might change our direction slightly, even though we are still going with the flow of the river. If we change our direction slightly, we might get close enough to shore to grab on the a low hanging branch and then we could all pull ourselves to shore and rest.
With only a slight trajectory adjustment, as opposed to fighting the entire river, a family can move to a safer and saner place - and hopefully avoid the waterfall.
Deciding what to do about the waterfall is much more roductive sitting around a campfire than in a canoe. Certainly you can't just wish the waterfall away, but you do not have to be a slave to it either. Your slight trajectory adjustment can get your family to the side for a breather, and then time to make decisions.
As you canoe through stepfamily life, consider making a slight trajectory change which can lead you to a safe and sane place for decision making. Then figure out what to do about that waterfall. Scout it out. Look for hidden portages. Maybe there is a trail. Maybe this trip is now a hiking trip and not a canoeing trip. There are many ways o deal with what is coming.

1 comment:

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