"All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" -Leo Tolstoy
I have read many different books on how to have a successful family. The three main things that I see that most of the books have in common are: establish family rules, have family fun, and have family traditions.
Those three things are more difficult and complicated than they seem at first. In addition, it takes time for your family to become a success. My family is still far from being a success for example. Things are still chaotic at times and I feel that we don't have the proper peaceful spirit in our home yet.
Because of the chaos, we are too stressed and tired to have family fun, and because of the lack of fun, it is difficult to make traditions.
I need to add that I am pregnant, and thus the lack of having those three things in my family add stress to my pregnancy. (inflamed ligaments, heart palpitations)
Well, I took a stand and wrote down some rules and routines for our family and posted it on the wall. My husband and I discussed the rules and routines with our children through family councils and family home evening lessons on obedience and service. In our routines we include family meals at the table with no TV, nightly scripture stories for the kids, and family prayer. We still aren't perfect with our rules and the kids still test us, but I noticed that having the rules has made vast improvements on my marriage.
Because the rules and routines are written down, my husband and I can take a united stand. There is order and understanding between us that wasn't there before. Our communication has also improved. My husband is also more involved with the children.
Because of better communication between my husband and I, we are able to have more fun conversations. We also WANT to spend more time with our children. This past weekend, for example, has been the most fun I have had in a very long time. I know it is because of the changes my husband and I have made in the way we structure our family.
One of the biggest reasons why this weekend was very special was because my husband started a very thoughtful family tradition. We planted trees for each of our family members on my parent's property since we have no land of our own. Everytime we visit my parent's for years to come, we can look at our tree and even help take care of it. The children helped to push the dirt over their own special tree. This tradition brought my husband closer to my parents and at the same time provided an opportunity for the whole family to serve each other by helping each other plant the trees, water them, plan where to put them, etc.
I realize now how important traditions are for a family, and I feel overjoyed that my family finally has some order, tradition, and fun. This weekend has given me a feeling of peace and I know I will never forget it.
I know that we will continue to improve on these three things. I hope that when the new baby arrives, he will arrive in an orderly, loving, and fun home!!
Some great books- "3 Steps to a Strong Family" by Richard and Linda Eyre
Any book by Stephen Covey
(guess which religion they belong to!!)