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In my life I have experienced many ups and downs that in one way or another assisted making me strong psychologically. However, it is also true that some of the experiences have made me humbler after the humiliation I got in such situations. Some of them have resulted in that I together with my family members faced a lot of suffering both mentally and physically. In most of them, however, I have kept up my spirits never giving up for that I always believed that there is always light in the end of the tunnel.
The greatest challenge I have faced in my life is the one that involved the lack of a stable source of income for a considerable length of time after having lost my job. I had to change my lifestyle by moving from my former house to a smaller one so as to save on the expenditure in terms of rent and other utility bills. The switching involved the selling of electronics that I had previously bought and which were a great deal power-consuming.
In this paper I will discuss the general and specific effects that unemployment had on me and my family in both physical and mental terms. I will analyze the various challenges posed by unemployment, which then forced me to sell some of the electronics and other equipment I had bought earlier for use in my home. This will be analyzed in terms of the extent to which my children were affected and somehow discouraged. I will discuss the effect of the unemployment crisis that I faced affecting the family’s position in the community and how the general performance of the family was affected. In the paper I will state some of various forms of assistance I received from the community and the government in general. The general personal and family impacts that the crisis had on me together with my family will be handled in detail.
Impacts on Physical Health of the Members
Indeed, the loss of employment opportunities has a lot of negative impacts on the person being affected and also on those around him/her who in one way or other depend on the employment either directly or indirectly. As a person who had been affected by the unemployment, my family was no exception for it as we shared the life’s challenging moments together. The movement from the apartment that I had to one, which was relatively smaller and so of less standards meant that my children would walk longer distances to their schools and other places they had got used to visiting. In fact, this to some extent led to such a situation that my children always disgruntled regardless of how much I tried to convince them that it would be over soon.
The final strain which I was experiencing that time affected our eating habits and the meals which we ate in my home changed drastically and most of the luxuries that we as a family had enjoyed were then replaced. My children protested from eating such meals for some time and in the issue they reduce weight seriously and for some period they were comparable to children who were under many months of starvation. The relationship between my children and me were deteriorated and from time to time we would exchange with words of anger. However, this did not happen occasionally for the children; with time they began to understand that the problem or the crisis that we were facing had occurred and it was beyond my control. There was a general feeling of regret and bitterness which occurred when the children at school were intimidated by their fellow students who criticized them for the financial crisis which I was facing as their parent. This bitterness led to the children becoming bitter with many people and this saw them to increase violence at school and, thus, there might be increased discipline cases at school.
There was a general disbelief among my family members as the children became bored all the time in my house, especially during the weekends when they did not have any activities to do and the schools had been closed.
My physical health was also affected as a result of the crises and despite not being a heavy drinker I found myself in using a lot of alcohol which was now making my physical body weaker. This threatened to enhance my loss of focus on the very goals I had in my life.
Observations and Reflections
I observed the family members when we passed through all the crises and noted that they were indeed suffering of that had anticipated. In fact, I realized that when I lost the job it simply meant that their future was threatened and they could not have interpersonal peace. The deteriorated discipline in the educational institutions and other social events saw my children becoming poor performers in the school work. This, the teachers said, was as a result of the children becoming full of despair and, therefore, lacked concentration in whatever they did at the school. Therefore, I was forced to try giving my children hope that all was not so bad and with time duration things would be alright.
In fact, I thought of my situation and convinced myself that all should be done to secure the future of my children which was being threatened by my financial position. I was occupying by it then. I thought it fine to seek for all means that would help me survive and to reduce the massive negative impacts that the crisis was having on my children. In fact, I thought how the best way handling the problem was to organize for several sessions in the family through which we would discuss as a family the various processes, which I had initiated to ensure that we pull out of the temporary crisis
The crisis taught me that indeed the little things that we may do or fail to do may end up resulting in crises that may change our lives greatly. In fact, it is apparent that any crisis that may threaten the family mode of operation and the relationship with the community is and should always be considered as one that might. Children derive the hopes of better future from the stability or the wellbeing that their parents have. Thus, this means that when this is threatened it tends to discourage the children mostly to lose hope with the future. This may result into their becoming hopeless and the very sense behind the education may not ring a bell in them that they have to work very hard so as to become successful people in the future. It is important for a family that faces such crisis to be strong and, in fact, embrace each other so as to gain the courage to survive the vortex of the financial storm that begets them (Richard, 2001).
Children need continuous updates and encouragement to enable them to understand the challenges that the parents face and when they are affected by such crises. Children should be made to accept the challenges of life and should not get affected or discouraged when things do not seem to work in the manner they had anticipated. My children with time started appreciating the fact that as a parent I was putting in to avert the problems they were facing and thereby improve their lifestyle level.
The lessons from the physical impacts that the children face are highly applicable in other situations that involve the breadwinner of the family becoming affected and, hence, threaten the survival of other members. In fact, the lessons from my experience are highly applicable to the situations that involve a family member who is incapacitated as result of some chronic disease.
In a family where the breadwinner is affected by sudden or historical illness the payment of utility bills and other needs at home such as the school fees for the children may become a big challenge and, hence may force such a family to be in a state of wanting as far as the provision of the basic needs to children is concerned. In such a family there is likely to arise the situation in which the children feel that their parents are not providing them their needs. This might result into despair and, hence poor performance in schools and the general negative change in physical behavior of the children (Richard, 2001).
Impacts on the Mental Health of the Family
This is one of the most sensitive qualities that openly manifested in my family members that I included. In fact, I personally developed a lot of stress and found it hard to eat well for quite a long time as I sat down and wondered the crises that had befell us. In fact, I developed stress that nearly saw me becoming an alcohol addict but the realization of the fact that the crises would not end by drinking made me face the problem and seek new ways of averting the implications and the negative impacts of the crises on my family.
My children appeared depressed by the fact they faced a lot of criticism and intimidation from their peers at school following the change of life style from one that they used to be proud of to the one that they were ashamed to talk of it in front of their peers. In fact, as stated earlier the children were depressed and many a times I would be summoned to go to the school to attend certain counseling a session together with my children as a means of trying to address the issue of despair and hopelessness that had engulfed them massively. In the bid to minimize the losses the negative emotions would have resulted into that I advised my children to be calm with life and always try to engage in activities that will assist them in forgetting the problems they face at home.
I understood the psychological torture that my family went through when the witness first handed the various bills that had accumulated as result of the crises I faced. Being forced to leave my own house to smaller one affected me greatly and I understood when I saw the same look of hopelessness in the eyes of my children.
My wife all of a sudden became very harsh to my children and most of the time she beat the children seriously without them having done a serious mistake at home. For example, there was one evening when I came home and found her seriously punishing one of my children on the account that he had not cleaned the utensils on time. Such a fault had occurred previously but she had never attracted such kinds of severe punishment. This, I understood was as result of the desperation caused by the fact that her dream to complete her studies in the college had been cut short by the financial crisis that had faced and the anger she had was now being directed at the children. I tried to convince her that such actions were not making the situation any better but instead was outing the children into more hostile position in the family. There are the thoughts of how the children feel when their father could not longer provide sufficiently and their mother on the other hand could not keep her anger.
Observation and Reflection
I observed that during the crises the family sessions were crucial in keeping the family spirits and hopes together. When we sat down together with my wife and discussed the various ways that could be used in working out a way from the financial mess that we were in I realized that both of us had a desire to change the situation. It is only that not all people have the same allowance of ruggedness to withstand the pressure of certain crises that can be created and, thus, I understood that her violent reactions that had developed with time were mainly as result of reaching the limit of patience and the hopes that things would be better, had died.
I thought of the necessity of having the family that understands the ups and downs of life and the fact that not everything in life is always favorable to each other and every individual all the time. In fact, I realized that it was necessary apparently to advise his/her children the importance of appreciating the fact that in life there are ups and downs and one should be prepared to survive regardless of what fate brings into his/ her life. I also realized that my behavior to start drinking heavily would have destroyed the family altogether for me as a man I was expected to give the other family members the direction in life.
Any crisis that destabilizes a family way of living is a threat to the normal functioning if the family for it results in people losing the morale to anticipate actively in activities that would see the general wellbeing of the family members attained. Therefore, it becomes important for the family members to develop strength and have patience with each other. In fact, it is important for people to assess and control their anger and the actions they result in; it is easier to think that you are acting normally when actually you are acting under the influence of the desperation. Actions as a result of desperation can be detrimental to a good family’s heath because people may end up acting in the manner that results in the cause of losses or damage that would be avoided if such a person had thought twice about the reason for the action to be taken.
In order to address the problem of mental breakdowns as a result of the crises that face families it is important for the family members to have in place a system that would successfully ensure that they easily forget the problems they face and, therefore fully participate in the efforts to increase the level of happiness at home. Regardless of the shortages it is important for the parent to organize some outings that would see the family members enjoying, at least according to their level of income. Activities facilitate easier and faster forgetting of the problems family members face in their home. In fact it contributed positively towards people appreciating the fact that indeed even through the hardships which they face once people can always find a reason to be happy and to participate in the activities that result in general increase in happiness at home.
Events such as outings to public places are a good way of reducing the stress levels of the family members and, thus give them hope that things would get better.
The lessons learnt from the experiences and reflections of this kind are highly applicable to many situations that involve family crises, in which the provision of the basic needs for the family members is threatened. The example stated here earlier, which involves chronic sickness that affects a member of a given family is a good candidate for the lessons learnt under this experience. In the sickness case, for example, it may be necessary for the other family members who are not healthy to work out ways that will give them hope and help them not focus on the sickness of their own.
It has been proved that mental health is crucial to the normal operation of a person because it not checked properly as may result in attempted suicide or death. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid stress and depression as much as it is possible.
Short term and Long term Financial Impacts on Lifestyle
It is indeed true that all crises have both short and long term effects on the lives of those that suffer from it. The financial crisis that I faced changed certain aspects of my lifestyle in such a manner that can be forgotten. Some of the changes were permanent and it has just been impossible to undo the changes. Immediately after the loss of employment as result of my ominous trip to Nigeria, basic need that were a norm in my home had to be reviewed with an immediate effect. The type of food which we consumed had to be one that has the sole aim of providing the basic nutrients for the substance of the family. In fact, there was a serious cut on the luxurious junk food that my children had gotten used to carrying with them as they went to school. This disappointed them but with time they understood the need to change from such to the basics. I gave them the logic that there was no need to eat well once and starve the rest of the time. In addition to that the life generally became basic as most of the electronics such as the TV sets that had been the source of entertainment for my family for very long time had to be sold so to avoid unnecessary high bills that would strain out already almost empty pockets.
I have learnt the hard way from the crisis that it is necessary for a person to have some significant savings that would come in handy to salvage emergency situations. Previously I had got used to budgeting nearly all of the money in stuff that are exhaustible but since the time the crisis walked into my life I have learned to minimize unnecessary expenditure and use the money when I was sure that whatever I was investing in was the best.
Observation and Reflections
After a keen analysis of the lifestyle I had had with the income I concluded that might be the impact of the job loss was as severe as it was maybe because I was not living within my means. It may have been as a result of the fact that my payment was not that sufficient to with stand such shock as the one I faced. My payment might have been low simply because I did not have better qualifications to warrant better pay. With this in mind, I resolved that I would go for further studies to put myself in the position that would attract better pay in case if I secured another job.
I also thought that may be I should have started my family life in smaller home that would have seen to be in apposition that would have comfortably been absorbed in the shock of unemployment. If that had happened, most likely my children would have got used to the lifestyle they were struggling to get used to after the crises befell us.
The aftermath of any given lesson consists of invaluable lessons that one has to learn from carefully. A person, who took a given path and failed, learns that taking a similar path next time is likely to end up in a similar or worse crisis. A disruption in the family source of income can have an everlasting impact on the lifestyle of the family. The expenditure may change and this means that certain activities such as family outings in expensive places might be minimized. In my case, for example, the behavior of visiting different areas in the world in the name of tours had to be done away.
It is important for a person to away things of the possible negative sides. However, this is not being pessimistic since it may assist one to cope up with the unprecedented negative occurrences that may face the family in general. The family that considers potential risks in its plans is usually in better position to cope up with the challenges that face whether they are financial or are not. Preparedness is therefore important in all aspects of life. In my case, for example, I realized that I had not put any plans in place that would have come to my rescue if I was faced by crises such those that befell me.
The lessons learnt here can as well be applied in many fields of life. It is important for a person to be prepared for the changes that may occur in life either planned or unplanned. The changes may be permanent or temporary but they affect person’s lifestyle. This can be applicable to a student who studies but does not think of what a cut in the supply of school fee could do. Such a student may be discouraged immensely if an unfortunate situation were to occur, especially, if he/she has never put into consideration the possible alternative sources of school fees. If such a situation was to arise, there is a greater chance that the student may resort to unethical sources of income which might change her lifestyle for ever. There have been many cases of female students resorting into prostitution as a source of income part of which the use in the payment of bills and charges required in college and schools. Such students state that they resort to that kind of lifestyle after their developing a serious need for finances and this happens when the only source of income is not any more (Keynes, 2007).
Forms of Economic Aid used by the Family
In my example I experienced the mercy of many. These included my family members and the friends whom I had made at the work place and elsewhere. The motivation and encouragement they gave me were invaluable and played a big role in ensuring that I survived the crisis. My family members were there for me all the time in that my parents assisted in paying from the utility bills that had accumulated as a result of the crisis which occurred while I was still in Nigeria.
My brothers and sisters were always ready to help me with the upbringing of two little children who by then were still in shock to hear the news that our lifestyle was changing and some of the things they had enjoyed doing such as playing with the play stations were not any more. In fact, they tried as much as possible to ensure that the children felt life had not changed that much. The encouragement they gave me was invaluable and the appreciation I have for them is not enough, at least, that is how I feel.
The company cooperated giving me my sick leave allowance which helped in surviving the first days that were as hell for me. These had accumulated over time and when I received it from the cashier I felt that something had pumped breath of life into my body. In addition to this kind of assistance some of my best friends were very crucial in helping to leave the path I had taken towards becoming an alcoholic. They encouraged me that life indeed is full of ups and downs and a strong person appreciates that as a fact and deals with it but not shying away from the way I was doing. This gave me the spirit and courage to face the life’s challenges and secure more opportunities that would facilitate me to place some food on the table for my family (John & Steven, 1995).
I secured a personal development loan from a Non Governmental Organization which I used to advance my studies together with that of my wife. This loan also was helpful in the general settling down in or newly acquired home. This was used in the payment of the various utility bills in our new house for the first few months. To some extent the loan was also used in the payment of the school fees for my children.
Observations and Reflections
The love of my friend and family showing during the critical moments reminded of the need for each and every person to have good relationship with his or her friends. The economic assistance in addition to any other assistance from such people offered to a person in dire need of help is one gesture of kindness that can not be repaid. There were the friends the influence of whom I used and the trust that they had earned in various organizations to ensure that I secured a loan from the Non-Governmental Organization which helped me greatly in achieving my personal and family objectives.
I personally did not have any record failure in the repayment of nay loan, the fact that paid the central role in determining either or not I was fit to be given a loan. The NGO offered the loan at very low interest so that I felt it was more for assistance than it was for business purposes
A person in any crisis can be helped out depending on whether or not the person can access the help. It is important for person to leave ‘safely’ with the society. The safety in this case refers to the situation in which one is at peace with most of his family members or friends. It also means that one should have a clean record of dealing with other financial institutions such as banks, microfinance institutions and NGOs. Mine is a good example of how living ‘safely’ can be of great benefit, especially, when problems knock on your door (Keynes, 2007).
The relationship that a person has with the society plays a unique role in determining whether that particular individual will manage to pull him/herself out of the mess. Organizations such as banks and other microfinance institutions depend on someone’s reputation before rewarding him/her with a loan. In this case it is important that the person being helped comes out clean to qualify for the loan.
The lessons learnt in this topic are applicable in several other situations such as the ones mentioned above. The person who is almost suddenly incapacitated by a given disease may need in the assistance of financial bodies such as banks or NGOs to help him/her to move out of the crisis. Loans could be of great help to the family of the person incapacitated by the diseases in the sense that it can be used by the sick person to seek medical care from the health care facilities around the country (Richard, 2001).
The student whose source of school fees has been cut short as a result of any reason has a good chance of securing economic assistance from some of the finance and microfinance institutions. The loans could be used in paying for other academic needs such as reading literature and accommodation (Keynes, 2007).
Each and every person has the responsibility to enhance a peaceful and harmonious coexistence between himself and the other one around him/her. In fact, the more a person has good network, the greater the chances that he or she will not be drawn in life’s unprecedented crises that overwhelm us at one point in life (Christopher, 2000).
Family Coping strategies relative to new Income Levels
The more days passed after the onset of the crisis, the more we, as a family, became adaptive to the current financial situation or crisis that the family was facing. As stated earlier on here, the first days were very hard and as a parent I became overwhelmed by the bills that had been accumulated immediately after I had arrived from Nigeria. The assistance offered by my sisters, brothers and parents played a great role in ensuring me as person adapted to the situation. The adaptation begins with the hope for better things. With this hope within me I could think of the ways that could be employed in achieving.
The loan I obtained from the NGO facilitated my adaptation to the situation for it was crucial in the settlement of my debts and the bills that had been accumulated. It was also a control mechanism that gradually brought my family to the environment in which there was not any absolute source of money. The family members understood when we had to dispose some of the electronics that consume a lot of power and thereby increasing the utility bills in one or the other way. The revenues that were accrued from the sale of the item were also used in helping us to cope up with the life in which the amount of family money was limited.
Family retreats had to be done away with and if nay were carried out it was in places that are public and where there were no payments or very small payments. As I continued to get more income from my pert time jobs in health care facility I started taking my children to outs on several occasion just to make them feel that indeed life was returning to where it once was. However, these outings were carried out with serious consideration of the possible return into the financial crisis. My family, therefore, understood when the outings were limited in some of the aspects.
Observations and Experience
I observed that even though the children had not fully recovered from the shock of the crisis, they were appreciating the effort I was making to ensure that the family returned back to financial stability. The children were reported to be friendlier at school and had reduced symptoms of stress and depression. However, I must appreciate that to some extent the guidance and counseling sessions that children were subjected to once in a while also played a big role in facilitating their adaptation to the financial situation.
My wife also with time showed good signs of coping with the situation and after serious consultative family discussions she changed her attitude towards the situation and began to appreciate the efforts to change the situation that the family found in. In fact apart from continuing with the studies she also sometimes was willing some extra tasks that would be in most cases done by the gardener, This was simply the sign that my family in general was adapting to the new financial environment and was willing to contribute uniquely to ensure that we are all successful.
In many crises time is a healer. As time passes by people tend to focus less on the reasons why the crises befell them and concentrate more on the possible way of improving the situation when they realize that their disappointment or anger does not change their situation but actions do. When people understand that improvement in any given crisis depends on their willingness to act responsibly, they instinctively stop focusing on the negative side but instead dwell on the positive side. When this happens it is always of great benefit to the family taken as a whole for unique individual commitment and action and up to become a giant leap from a crisis. My crisis, for example, is the best illustration that indeed people can stop focusing on that should or should not happened but instead should focus on what should be comfortably done to improve the current situation. This is what saw my wife and children willing actively to participate in the chores at home an act that finally resulted in a peaceful home once more. The family finances may not have reached the level that they were before but little by little that family may have served them abundantly provided the expenditures are checked. However, checking the expenditure does not necessarily mean that life should not be enjoyed (Robert, 2005).
The lessons in this section can be effectively applied in any situation in which a person faces financial crisis and he/she is slowly recovering from it. A student who might have faced a financial crisis in his/her education may change several aspects of her life to ensure that the focus is placed on the most fundamental needs in his/her education (John & Steven, 1995).
Effects on social and/or community functioning of the family
Following the assistance we had gathered from the friends and family we felt that we were indeed part of a very big extended family. Thus, this made as highly available for the participation in the various community activities. This improved our social relationship with the community around. Indeed, humiliation with life makes one humble as we found it easier to talk to the neighbors around us who would from time to time offer us different forms of assistance in many activities. The relationship with the people who were in the class that we were in before, to some extent deteriorated not because they did anything wrong to us but because as a family we posses some elements of inferiority complex. This was the main reason that had contributed to my children’s indiscipline cases n the school. Children from the families in the class we had been earlier on kept on intimidating my children to the extent of irritating and more often this ended in wars.
I personally could not freely join the companies of my former friends for I would have no good story to give. Such situations force a person to move away from his/ her friends who had always been around him when our things were going on well
Observation and Reflection
However, in general terms the crisis introduced us in the reality of life that one needs to be in good terms with others around him no matter. I must admit that as family we had for quite a long time lost touch with the people who had living standards that were slightly lower than ours. This made it hard for the family members easily to interact with the community in activities in the start of the crisis. However, with time, a person starts interacting with the people around him daily as, in fact, several months after the crisis my children had developed strong bonds with the other children in the neighborhood. My wife also was not left behind for her having also made her fellow friends who consisted of the women from the neighborhood that we had moved to. However, this does not necessarily mean that the ties we had with our former friends were broken but instead they were to some extent downplayed for us being no longer in the same class. However, it is important to note here that certain events are not taken into consideration the financial level that a person has.
Crisis can change a person’s social level in the society. The humiliation as result of the crises such as loss of employment leaves many people humbled. The fact that most of the friends once had when he/she was at higher level in the society may not necessary follow him/her to lower level leaves a person with other option but to start developing new ways of interacting with those at lower level. The social barriers that normally exist among people of different income classes are usually broken at time of crises as was in my case. At this point in life one realizes that indeed all people are equal (Boyce, 2010).
These lessons can be applied to the many who are in different classes but do not consider interaction with other people in the society as the action that is worth done. Crises come in a person’s life and that is the moment when they realize that indeed good interaction between a person and the rest of the members in the society is crucial for the people who might come to his/ her help may not necessarily be those in his or her class (John & Steven, 1995).
Loss of employment is detrimental to well functioning of any given family. In fact, it destabilizes a family and, therefore, results in much physical and mental harm to the members of any given family. However, the family that is strong can work out the way of the mess, in which may find its members themselves. Governments must address the issue of unemployment in their countries but at the same time those that might end up being affected in one way or other should not lose any hope of regaining their former status (Boyce, 2010).