Family Reunions: Acknowledgment and Forgiveness

Landmark Forum leader David Cunningham discusses how to have a great family reunion in a recent feature from Kalamazoo Living.

The story looks at several key points in having the reunion be a success in terms of how to relate to family members. The first is to give up the concern for impressing others with one’s accomplishments. Instead, he says, focus on acknowledgment.

“What’s important is to not try to impress [family members] with what we’ve done,” says Cunningham, “but to let them know we really acknowledge, celebrate and think highly of what they’ve accomplished.”

He emphasizes that acknowledgment is simple and easy – it doesn’t take a lot of time, and it instantly creates closeness between you and the other family member.

“It takes about one minute of thanking somebody or some acknowledgment to have love be present, to have an extraordinary relatedness be present,” he notes.

A second key thing to do, according to Cunningham, is to distinguish your story about a person or events from what actually happened. It’s easy to come to a family reunion with stories and opinions about different people, but if you can separate the events of the past from your interpretation of them, you can steer clear of potential upsets.

Forgiveness can play a big part in having a great family reunion. Cunningham emphasizes that forgiveness isn’t just about not blaming people for past events – it’s truly having love be expressed.

“To forgive, you give your love back like you did before anything happened,” says Cunningham.

Read the entire article at the home of Kalamazoo Living.

You May Also Like


Andrew L. Freedman says:

This is really good and is applicable for all family and or friends get togethers.  I think that we are geared for looking good and wanting to impress our family, relatives and friends.  When you step out of yourself and make it, not about you, but about the one you’re speaking with, it make them feel good and what come about is that you become more interesting to others than if you had talked about yourself. 
Andy Freedman

Arlene Chasek says:

This is  so good to read. Now is the time for school and college reunions and David's comments are so relevant for class reunions as well.  It's hard to give up wanting to look good and impress our classmates, but really impressing others may be more about acknowledging and forgiving. I am embarassed about how competitive and jerky I was. It may be fun to share that and see if anyone else feels that way too..

Ron Mobley says:

How great to hear this as we approach Mothers Day.. Thanks for being big in life.

Andrew L. Freedman says:

I didn't know how this site worked and that you can go back to the comments section.
Arlene, you mentioned class reunions – a few years ago, instead of the dressing up for an organized event at a hotel (and wanting to impress) – With help from the local papers and blogs, I organized (with help from another classmate) an all year Cubberley High School reunion at Mitchell Park in Palo Alto, CA.  No dressing up, no fee, bring a side dish and just have fun.  About 300-400 folks showed up during the day. 
Andy Freedman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *