Dear friends in Christ,
Today is Holy Family Sunday. With that in mind, I thought I would give my own brief 10 helpful hints for a happy family life. These are in no particular order.
- Surround yourself with beauty.
We all need to be inspired to the good. Beauty elevates our thinking and pleases our senses and our souls. In a crude and disposable culture, we need refinement. Beauty is transcendent and enduring.
- Monkey see, monkey do.
Children are sponges and mirrors. They soak up everything around them and reflect it right back at you. If we want our children to be good, holy, virtuous, happy people, then adults have to model that behavior. If we want our children to be fearful, anxious, selfish, disrespectful, lazy, ungrateful, uncaring etc. well, go for it!
Laughter is essential to emotional and spiritual health and well-being. Being sullen, morose and always serious does not do anything good. Remember to have fun and have fun and play together! Laughter and play are important in a well-balanced life and in a healthy family. There are lots of important and serious things in life, but we should never take ourselves too seriously and we should teach our children to do the same. Life is short.
- The family that prays together stays together.
Grace before meals, a family rosary, a Hail Mary in the car, night prayers together and absolutely Sunday Mass. Just do it and keep at it. No exceptions, no exemptions and no excuses. If you do your part, God will do the rest!
- Every day is Christmas!
Not all of our gifts come gift wrapped and under the tree. In fact, the best gifts are those we receive every day: our marriage, our family, our faith, our friends, the food on our table, the clothes on our back, the home we live in, the job we get to do, the lessons we have learned in life, the opportunity to love and be loved. When we see our many blessings each day as gifts, we learn to be appreciative, grateful and generous.
- Pretty is as pretty does.
True beauty and attractiveness is not in our outward appearances but in the quality of our character. Goodness, kindness and virtue never fade, turn colors, gain weight or get wrinkles. Good is attracted to good and like attracts like.
- When Mama is happy, everybody is happy!
This is first and foremost Daddy’s job! When Daddy seeks to put Mama first, the kids will learn to do the same. When dad puts his wife and her needs before himself, his interests and “the job”, mom will not only appreciate it, but she will be supported and know that she is not trying to do everything by herself. When the kids see the mutual love of their parents for each other, they will see the love and respect they need to live in their lives. When mom and dad are OK, the kids will be OK and secure in that love that binds them together.
- “Yes Ma’am, No Sir, Excuse me, Thank you and Please”
Politeness and manners count! Expressing the simplest acts of courtesy and manners helps us respect others and develop and strengthen self-respect inside the family and out.
- “I love you” – everyday.
We all need to hear this and we all need to say it – out loud with words, every day! No matter how bad the day is or how bad we messed up, these simple words can and do make things better.
- Time makes a difference.
There is no substitute for time spent together as a family. Learning to do nothing together is more important than learning to do everything (piano lessons, soccer practice, ballet, SAT tutoring, computers games, TV, the project at work, etc.) on our own. Eating together as a family is an essential part of the equation. Sitting at the table together every night forms us and shapes us. If we don’t have family meals at home and appreciate them as essential to who we are as a family, how can Mass (our Eucharistic sacrificial meal) make much sense?
May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph help make you a holy family today and always!
In Pace Christi,