The Reluctant Missionary

Authentic stories from the travels of Michael Smalley.

You don't have to

marriage parenting personal growth Dec 20, 2018

“I think I am fine and dealing and then my mother calls out of the blue. She acts as though we spoke to each other last week when it’s been four years. She sounds friendly but it doesn’t take long for her to start berating me for not being in touch and, instead of listing all the reasons I haven’t been, I start apologizing and feel horribly guilty.” (reference)

December 21 and 22 are the worst travel days of the entire year. And we know some of you are going home to families that sound a lot like Sarah’s. Today is a day for hope, because we are are going to journey with you and give some simple tips for dealing with hurtful, broken family relationships.

The Distraction of the Day:

We all know the lengths I went to in order to win your attention.  Male cheerleading, yada yada yada. But then there’s James Mack from New Jersey, and there’s no way you can guess what he did to win back his ex-girlfriend Sara Lopez.

Honoring News of the Day:

College announcement days are sort of ridiculous. But then Cooper Dawson from Hanahan High School did his “reveal” with friend Kingsley Feinman who has cerebral palsy.

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Show Content:

First rule when it comes to dealing with broken families or hurtful relatives is to understand you don’t have to go visit.  It’s ok to put up a boundary of not going. People earn the right to be in relationship with you.

  • Make sure you’re not being petty
  • Don’t stay away in order to punish
  • What could you handle?
    • Three days instead of seven days
    • Staying at a hotel instead of the home
    • A friend or spouse to help back you up

Other good boundary examples:

“An example might be having an alcoholic parent who drinks too much and becomes verbally abusive at the Friday evening family dinner. A healthy boundary might be saying “Mom/Dad we would love to meet you for breakfast on Sundays rather than dinner on Fridays,” (reference)

Mom keeps bugging you about your children and worried you don’t watch them enough.  A boundary might sound like, “Mom, it sounds like you’re worried about my kid’s safety.  Me and Amy feel good about it, but if you wanted to watch the kids during the day to feel more safe about them, then we are both ok with you doing that.”


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