family dynamics

Social Status

In honor of President’s Day ( in the USA, which is the location of this blog) today we will explore our own leadership skills and where we fit in a social hierarchy. Please find two pieces of paper. On one, please draw a very simple family portrait (family of origin), maybe just using stick figures or a simple face to represent each person. Make sure to include yourself.  On the other page, please draw a portrait of people in your current environment (this might be your current family/relationship, a group of close friends, co workers, roommates etc). Now look at the two pictures together and look for patterns of where you fit in each group. Are you a leader in both? Are you a follower? There is no “right” place to be. This is an exercise in self exploration and learning about patterns in our lives.

Yesterday’s exercise: Do you suffer from technology overload? Are you nostalgic for a less “connected” stage of life when we relied more on real human interactions? Is there anything you can do to find a balance between the two worlds. Did you notice a connection in your timeline between improved technology and decreased human interactions?

Adding Words to Your Family Portrait

Today’s project: Assuming you created a family portrait yesterday (with each family member represented by a symbol or object), we will continue adding more on to this art project. Please add some dialogue, maybe using word balloons. What are these people saying to each other? Who are they choosing to speak to and who are they avoiding? You might even have each of them say something to you and you respond back to each of them through the word balloon format. If you are feeling prolific with your exploration of family dynamics, you might even take another piece of paper and create an entire conversation of family members based on your conversation. We will save the questions about this project for tomorrow! Good Luck.

A Family Portrait of Objects and Symbols

For today’s art exercise, I will ask you to draw a family portrait. If you do not feel comfortable actually drawing, feel free to collage or write words in place of pictures. Rather than drawing actual people, think of an object or animal that represents each person in your family and draw that on your paper to represent them. Family is really a loose term and you might want to include the people who are important in your life, and not your biological family…. it could be roommates, extended family, work mates…..really just think of people you spend a good deal of your day with each day. Make sure to include yourself. The objects or symbols might represent things these you associate with these people. Use your imagination.

Yesterday’s project: What is your weather forecast? Are you standing in it, or are you the actual weather? If you are standing in it, can you think of anything you can add to protect yourself? If you are the weather, how does it feel? Is it constant? Will you change? Can you change? Are you causing any damage to your surroundings? Are you helping your surroundings? Using these metaphors can sometimes help us grasp parts of ourselves that we might be overlooking in our busy lives.