Chang “family councils”

Chang, Holding Serve, 2002, 119-20

Much of our family interaction happened around the kitchen or dining room table.  Eating and talking were important pasttimes to our family, and had been ever since I had left my high chair.  My parents saw the family dinner hour as a time to reconnect and share what happened during the day, discussing what happened in school or how things went on the tennis court–or both.  They recognized that their sons needed a forum where we could express our dreams, our irrational fears, and our crazy ideas…

It was during these mealtimes that our system of “family councils” evolved.  I was always encouraged by my parents to bring any issue to the table…Mom and Dad did not want to be final arbiters in these discussions because they wanted Carl and me to learn how to make decisions by consensus, not by a father stomping his feet or a mother demanding her way.  My parents never subscribed to the “it’s my way or the highway” theory.

The Chang family liked to take a topic, examine, the pros and cons, kick around the benefits and the bad side, and see whether we could come to a conclusion.  There was no formal family vote as some have written, but no decisions was final until we reached some sort of collective agreement.


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