The energy of the elements permeates life as we know it. This energy colors the way we experience the world. Just as the childhood stages and our personality styles each emulate an elemental characteristic, I believe our family systems do as well.
For example, “earth” style families are very structured. This family system has a code of ethics and rules that the family operates under. Expectations are clearly defined for all, creating a harmonious family unit. A “water” style family system is based on flexibility and connection. This is a family that talks about feelings, is effusive in demonstrating feelings with each other, and stays connected on a daily basis. In stark contrast, a family based on a “fiery” system is volatile and filled with much bickering and competitiveness. These families are committed to local and national sporting events and are some of our nation’s most loyal fans. This family’s bickering and fighting helps them feel and stay connected. Although they may disagree with each other internally, when facing the outside world they are extremely loyal to each other and united. An “airy” family is on the move. They all have complex and conflicting schedules. There are usually several free spirits in a family that operates based on airy principles. Creativity and spontaneity are common place and the thread upon which an airy family rests. The more “etheric” family style is intellectually driven. This is a family who values high achievement. Issues are analyzed and compromise is struck based on sound logic or common sense. Parents in etheric families talk through issues, sometimes talking things to death. This family takes pride in their commitment to community or church. They are highly committed to the pursuit of quality education, and are motivated to transcend life circumstances using brain power and/or spiritual belief systems.
It is important to honor your innate family style. Understanding the underpinnings of your family can help you increase your sense of pride and contribute to the development of a united sense of purpose.