Yesterday our church had a couple's shower for Allison and Cody as they prepare to be married. I had the pleasure of introducing Allison - actually, I asked to be able to introduce her. Not that she needed an introduction, most everyone knows who she is, but I wanted take the opportunity to tell a few things about her that most people do not know - and I wanted to say some things to those attending from our church. I introduced our church as our "family" - not just our "church family", because they have been precisely that. They have been a part of our kid's lives from the get-go. They have watched them grow up, have been their Sunday school teachers and youth leaders. They've set them straight when they needed to be set straight, and they've encouraged them when they needed to be encouraged. They have been a real family to us and to our kids and I wanted to thank them for their help in raising our kids.
I've often thought about our church as family and like any family they are a bit dysfunctional at times. That's not saying something bad about our church, it's just a fact that every family or church family is dysfunctional to some degree because they're made up of imperfect people.
That got me to thinking. Psychologist have identified 4 - 5 roles that family members play in dysfunctional families. I wonder if the same roles apply in church families? I think they might. I believe I can see a pattern in my own life as to the role I play in my family and the role I play in my church. I may share more about that later.
For now, here are the basic family roles identified by psychologists:
The "Hero". Typically the "good" child who never gives anyone any trouble. They often take on the role of parent or the one who is responsible.
The "Scapegoat" or "Black Sheep" who is blamed for most problems in spite of being the only emotionally honest one in the family. If you want to know what's going on in a family, ask the black sheep - they have nothing to lose by being honest.
"The Caretaker" – the one who takes responsibility for the emotional well-being of the family.
"The Lost Child" – the inconspicuous, quiet one, whose needs are often ignored or hidden.
"The Mascot" – uses their comedic personality to divert attention away from the increasingly dysfunctional family system.
It seems to me that it is somewhat "normal" to take on one of these roles and not necessarily a sign of maladjustment. But then I'm one who always says that perfect mental health is overrated. Even so, there are some pros and cons to each of these roles and it may be a good idea to look at the role we play. Is our role helping us? Hurting us? Helping the family? Or hurting the family. Are there changes that we need to consider?
By the way, I believe we're all a part of the Church family and play a role whether we attend a local church or not.
I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this....
- My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.