When I entered religious life almost 40 years ago, living singly was not one of my expectations. Having grown up in a family that taught me to share, persuade and compromise, I had a bit of a head start adjusting to community life and have grown to love and value it deeply.
When I was a child and adolescent, my parents would call an occasional "family meeting" when the daily tensions of life mounted in our home. We each found a seat as well as a voice and were required to stay in the conversation until the issues at hand were resolved. In the democratic process, we each had a vote (including my parents), but plenty of persuasion was needed, as we were an even number. Perhaps this early experience helped me survive convent "house meetings"!