Why am I here? What is my purpose?

When my brother was diagnosed with stage four cancer six months ago, I made the decision to drive north for an extended period of time and help take care of him. I was working remotely and could do that from geographically anywhere as long as I had access to the internet. I am not sure what compelled me to make that conscious choice to uproot myself, but I knew that it was something I could do because of COVID regulations and working from “home.” I was slightly anxious about what this new role was going to have in store for me, especially in my Filipino family’s dynamics. See, I’m the youngest (by over a decade or two) of ten kids and the only child to my parents. So before I even went to live with my brother, I was telling my therapist about my perspective on my past and current role in my family and the feelings that come with that dynamic.

I write this to set the context for the task I have that was revealed after a leadership class this evening. I have been given an opportunity to facilitate a workshop on Saturday and I need to write a description for that workshop. I decided to use it as my writing prompt for Day 7 of the 100 Days of Writing Project. Here’s the draft:

Leadership and Group Dynamics in Family Systems and Structures

Do you ever wonder where the stereotype that the baby of the family is spoiled comes from? or how some families always have that one uncle at family gatherings who [insert some inappropriate thing here]? or why one parent uses the phrase ‘go ask your mother/father’ to avoid answering the child’s question? Families, like other groups, are a system of people with roles and responsibilities, shared experiences, and goals. Dynamics exist. What happens when we begin to observe and interpret those dynamics from an adaptive leadership lens?

In looking back at my caretaking time with my brother, I often questioned why I was the one there. I am a foodie that often eats out and rarely cooks for myself. I am a doctor, but not that kind of doctor. I have no business making any medical decisions. However, out of all the family members, I was the one who was able to stay with my brother for months until his death. It was not until my own family dynamics began to emerge amidst a challenge that our family was facing that it came to me — my leadership studies degree taught me how to be more mindful and aware of group dynamics and how to pay attention to it as it was happening. I had a purpose for being there and now I get to share what I learned from that experience with the students in this leadership class.

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Grace Bagunu

Higher education and leadership professional. Ukulele novice. Aspiring writer. Humom to two cute pups. Lover of sunsets. Co-creator of #100daysofwritingproject