“Happiness does not consist of a glut of luxury, the world’s idea of a “good time” Nor must we search for it in faraway places with strange sounding names. Happiness is found at home.” -Thomas S. Monson
What are some ways to achieve happiness in the home?
#1: Put God First
We are all God’s children and as such, He loves us just as a loving father here on earth loves his children, but God loves us infinitely more. He is involved in the intricate details of our lives. It is our job to be sure that our homes are a sanctuary where His spirit can dwell. That includes: love, forgiveness, repentance, His words (the scriptures), daily prayer, uplifting music and media, time together, service, and kindness (including kindness to yourself).
My mother is a wonderful example of this. Often when I would go to find her growing up, I would find her kneeling by her bedside praying to her Father in Heaven or with her scriptures sprawled out in front of her with a stack of study materials at hand. She taught us 6 kids often with her words, but her faith shows bright like a burning fire in her eyes. She doesn’t just talk about God, she KNOWS Him, and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. I am grateful for her example. The light of her faith has lit a fire of faith within me. I will try to light a fire of faith within my own children, and our faith will continue to light generations to come.
#2: Schedule Uninterrupted Time As a Family
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (you may know it as the “Mormon” Church, but above is the proper name). Jesus Christ is at the center of my faith and the family is crucial to God’s plan.
Within my church, many years ago, something called “Family Home Evening” was started in 1915. It was started to build and strengthen families worldwide. The prophet at that time (a prophet is a mouthpiece for God) asked members church-wide to set aside one evening a week that is blocked out for the family to spend time all together. Here is a portion of what was said,
“We advise and urge the inauguration of a “home evening” throughout the Church, at which time fathers and mothers may gather their boys and girls about them in the home and teach them the word of the Lord. They may thus learn more fully the needs and requirements of their families, at the same time familiarizing themselves and their children more thoroughly with the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This home evening should be devoted to prayer, singing hymns, songs, instrumental music, scripture reading, family topics, and specific instruction on the principles of the gospel and on the ethical problems of life, as well as the duties and obligations of children to parents, the home, the Church, society, and the nation. For the smaller children, appropriate recitations, songs, stories, and games may be introduced. Light refreshments of such a nature as may be largely prepared in the home might be served.
Formality and stiffness should be studiously avoided (I wholeheartedly agree with that point! Ha!), and all the family should participate in the exercises.
These gatherings will furnish opportunities for mutual confidence between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, as well as give opportunity for words of warning, counsel, and advice by parents to their boys and girls. They will provide opportunity for the boys and girls to honor father and mother and to show their appreciation of the blessings of home so that the promise of the Lord to them may be literally fulfilled and their lives be prolonged and made happy.”
Do you know any members of my church? Families within my church are often very strong because they have heeded the prophets call to set aside one night a week to spend time together. I know that the state of our families is important to God.
“In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e.”—President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Here is the structure of family home evening that we usually go by:
Family Home Evening (set aside one night a week that works for everyone, many people choose Monday, but whatever works best is great!)
As was said earlier, this is not meant to be a rigid program. The most important part is spending time together. I encourage you to try this. Unplug with the whole family and do something together.
For Family Home Evening Ideas, click here.
#3: Family Council:
Here is a helpful guide to starting your own weekly family council.
“. . . family council held regularly will help us spot family problems early and nip them in the bud; councils will give each family member a feeling of worth and importance; and most of all they will assist us to be more successful and happy in our precious relationships, within the walls of our homes.”
My family and I have tried to always do regular family council. As we have done so, we have noticed an increase in unity. Everyone in the family has felt as though they have more of a say in our day to day decisions regarding the family. My husband has created a printed checklist that we use as an outline and follow-up. Our family has felt more organized and we have been able to assign kids responsibilities in other areas to help family life flow better.
Quotes by Elder Ballard on Family Council:
“There has never been a time when the world was in greater need of the strength and security that are best sown and cultivated in the deep, fertile soil of family love. The family is under heavy attack from antagonists bent on extinguishing this powerful source of light in a darkening world. Successful families have a wide assortment of tools, and one of the most useful tools is the family council.”
“Family home evening is a social and teaching time. In a family council we talk about the needs of the family and the needs of individual members of the family. It is a time to solve problems, make family decisions, plan day-to-day and long-range family activities and goals. It is a time to share one another’s burdens and joys and counsel together, to keep each family member on the right track spiritually. It is the time when we discuss family matters.”
“A council is when parents let their children help solve the problem. And when everyone agrees to a solution, everyone will have ownership of the problem. If I tell the family, “You go out and pull the weeds,” there may be complaining or hurt feelings. But if I can help them to feel, “We all decided this,” then the family council is truly working. Before you know it, family members will be organizing themselves, saying, “You do this and I’ll do that.” That’s the power of a council.”
This last quote really hits home for me as a mother of five children.
“Parents need to draw the children into the problem-solving process by letting them be heard. For example, I came home at times to find that the children had not cleaned their rooms or done other things they were supposed to do. My wife had her hands full with seven children to raise. So I called the children together for a short council meeting. We talked about what needed to be done and decided on a course of action. Talking about the course of action makes all the difference. If it’s mandated or dictated, there will usually be resistance. But if parents will establish a climate conducive to openness, where every person is important and every opinion is valued, they can create a kind of spiritual synergism in the home, where the combined action or cooperation that results is greater than the sum of the individual parts.”
I believe that these three things have the power to turn any family and home around. I have seen many blessings flow into my life and the life of my family as we have implemented these things. I challenge you to try it to.Share This: