Dear Vicki: The Fourth of July is next month and it’s turning into a real challenge for our family. My sixteen-year-old daughter, Joni (who I’m pretty sure is a Fire), wants to have a huge picnic, invite all of her friends, and shoot off fireworks after dark (we live where they are legal). Stella, my twelve-year-old, hates noise and crowds so wants a quiet family gathering or maybe even a night at the movies. Of course, Joni claims that would be boring. To make matters worse, Jake, my husband, thinks taking the whole family camping in the wilderness, along with a few close friends, would solve the problem. But I’m the one everyone looks to for organizing and cooking on a camping trip, and it doesn’t sound like fun to me. So, we are a family divided. Any suggestions? Signed, Fractured Family
Dear Fractured Family: Holidays are never easy because everyone has expectations. Of course Joni will want excitement and activity; that’s what Fires need. And the Independence Day holiday falls in summer, which is Fire’s season. Joni’s personal Fire will likely be revved up even more by summer and she’ll be ready to party.
You don’t mention Stella’s element, but the fact that she wants the quiet and darkness of a movie theater suggests she might be a Water. The yang activity of summer, and especially the noise and excitement of July 4th, are the exact opposite of what Stella’s Water will crave. There’s nothing peaceful, solitary, or quiet about a huge party and fireworks.
Your husband Jake sounds like he might have a lot of Earth. Camping with friends can be very Earth: time out in nature is one of the most important ways to ground and feed Earth energies. Being with close group friends is also important to Earth.
And you, Ms. Fractured Family, are probably a Wood. Making sure everything runs smoothly, whether camping or at home, takes the planning and manifestation skills of a Wood. The good news is that your Wood is exactly what’s needed to solve your family’s July 4th dilemma.
Start by reminding everyone that family life is about compromise, but within the compromise can be nuggets that will meet everyone’s needs. Jake’s Earth and Joni’s Fire value connections. And while Joni will want a larger and crazier party than your husband will, you can use your Wood to create structure and boundaries around how many people will be invited to the party you host for July 4th. While camping is important to Earths, being home with close family and friends also matters, so Jake should be equally as happy hosting family and friends at home as he might have been camping in the wilderness.
To meet Joni’s need for a party atmosphere, suggest she invite five or six close girlfriends for a picnic and fireworks celebration outside (weather permitting, of course). As you probably know well, six teenage girls can easily feel like a crazy party, which will feed Joni’s Fire. Plus, it’s her party, so that will make Joni the center of attention with her girlfriends, which will also feed her Fire. You can enlist the girls in helping you with food preparations, too, which will take some of the load off of you.
As for sweet Stella, see if she’d also like to invite a few close girlfriends. One or two would probably be the max she’d enjoy, and it’s very likely that they will all be Waters or maybe Earths. I’m guessing that you probably have a den or family room in your house where your family watches movies. Make that available to Stella and her friends so that they can watch a movie of their choice inside while the party is going on outside.
That said, don’t be surprised if Stella and her friends wander outside for the fireworks in spite of her reported dislike of them. I suspect that part of Stella’s dismissing of fireworks was her innate Water response to her Fire sister who she probably perceived as out of control. Water’s often subconsciously feel like it’s there job in life to keep Fires from going crazy. But if you’ve managed the whole event well (as I fully expect you, as a Wood, to do), Stella might feel like Joni doesn’t need her Water to stay controlled and will join the family for the fireworks. After all, who doesn’t like fireworks?
I wish you and your family, and all Ask Vicki readers, a wonderful and safe Independence Day celebration!