the Family preamble: Acting from Love
Kendall F. Person: I’m a little confused. Are we talking about you specifically? Strained relations with your family? Is that what led you to the Temple or are you being general or abstract?
Tamzen Temple: Partly, as there are some strained relationships in my family, but more so, of those around me who feel a little deserted There’s the good and bad in there and I think all families have good and bad elements within. The Temple is just trying to bring back the simplicity of being ‘nice’ not just in family but to set an example for the next generation.
Some of the ‘negatives’ I include aren’t really negative as they help build stronger relationships as you go through and learn your own strengths. I believe in the end, you often ‘discard’ those who do you wrong, but family you go back for more because they are family. Even if you cut them off, they are in you and you will think of them. It seems to be the ‘way of the world’ where all families struggle at some point and during these times (and other times) other people become family. What led me to the Temple was seeing so many being rushed, to busy to use the common courtesy.
I hope I make sense.
Kendall F. Person: Yes. I understand. But, I do have one more question, what is the Temple?
Tamzen Temple: We believe that every home, whether it be a tin shack, castle, tent, combi van, mansion, cubby house or just like my place a humble home with peeling paint and a creaky door is a Temple. The message of the Temple is that whatever you have in your heart – be it your home, your family and friends – is where or what your Temple is.
Temple Definition of Family: It’s the rush you get, the exhilaration of warmth, the disappointment, the win, the loss, the total pride that infiltrates your being.
and introducing…the Everyday People
from Geelong Australia, Tamzen Temple
from Tottenham United Kingdom, Robert Bridge
from Sydney Australia, Simonette Vaja
from Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Patricia Scott
Kendall F. Person: What does family mean to you?
Robert Bridge: Asking an eligible bachelor about family at my age is rather unusual.
Kendall F. Person: How old are you, Robert?
Robert Bridge: At a Christening, a family gives a child a middle name and have witnesses. These witnesses, if able to take the challenge are Godparents. Its quite an honour if someone asks this of you. Usually, it is because you have done the honourable thing and got married. Well no such luck for me. Single, never been a real father to anyone nor asked to be a godparent. So you can see how difficulties happen.
But family is precious and I am proud of my family achievements. My mom, sister and brother and their three boys. I have cousins in Wales and we met a few years ago at a funeral. Having friends and associates, I have attended many funerals. I see the graveyard as a place where family stays, who are no longer with us.I also have cousins, nieces and nephews in America and Canada.
I see families consolidating in one another all the time. It makes me feel secure, that they are going to be ok and have faith in each other. Take the necessary steps when someone passes on.
Kendall F. Person: And now people are reading about you.
Robert Bridge: (chuckle) That’s why, as a family we sat around for so many hours a day watching television. We could see ourselves in the TV. With internet its easy to get involved in what happens. We get to share in the happiness and chime in the conversation, but commenting only brings attention on yourself.
I do my best to look after my dog, and I understand how the youth respond well to pets, in general. I admire people who adopt children, who are not fortunate to have a stable family, and families who are able to get honest enough to overcome challenges.
Nothing is thicker than blood when it comes to family.
When I looked into your eyes
I knew it was love.
Your little hands in mine,
there was no feeling above.
Doubly blessed to have not one,
but two… amazing Sons like you.
Through good and bad you loved me,
whether happy or sad you loved me.
You only placed God above me.
I am grateful you both are here
I want to make it very clear.
I don’t know where I would be
if you were not with me.
The one thing I have come to see,
no greater love than Family.
There is not one thing… not one,
that I am more proud of than my sons.
I love you.
– Patricia Scott
Kendall F. Person: What does family mean to children living under the oppressive force of abuse and neglect?
Simonette Vaja: Imagination was how I soothed myself, growing up in a domestic violent and neglectful home. I slipped away from terrifying crises into a future vision for myself with a loving family to belong to. I escaped into my optimistic inner world imagining a mother and a father to love me. That is what got me through.
I was born to a young mother who was afraid for her safety from my physically violent father. Her mental illness remained and she never bonded with me and indeed held much resentment and conflicted feelings about me. I was a neglected infant and child. My early childhood was complex, traumatic and confusing, I endured many separations from my mother, father and later from my grandparents who adopted me when I was 13. Because of this I did not form a healthy attachment bond and I was also an only child so I took on the sole responsibility for the effects of the domestic violence. My grandfather was a gambler and my grandmother worked three jobs to make ends meet. We were poor and moved from one small apartment to the next, often without warning, not having been able to pay rent.
Kendall F. Person: How is your relationship with your children?
Simonette Vaja: Close and loving. My son who is 28 is enjoying a fulfilling life. My daughter is creative, jubilant and a sociable child. I have parented my children as a single mother, and though it is tough at times, it has compelled me to be resourceful and creative about how I spend my time and my career as a psychologist.
But I had to turn my back on my family for a short time to rebuild a healthy sense of myself. Over time, my anger and depression transformed into acceptance and understanding. Learning to meditate and find peace within is integral to this healing journey. I came to accept, that my parents were limited by many factors and that all I could do was keep my own counsel and know, that I could learn how to take care of myself and my own children, no matter what life presented, no matter what my early childhood circumstances.
Kendall F. Person: Do you still have to imagine?
Simonette Vaja: I don’t have to imagine, that I have a loving family anymore, because I have held hands with my despair and hope. I enjoy rich emotional connections, a life journey where I have found peace, love and laughter within my own family.Family has been the full spectrum of experience, from the horrors of anger and control to the joys of sharing interests and respect.
But through it all, Family is so important to me,
Simonette Vaja is a Creativity Psychologist and Clinical Hypnotherapist