More Joys


When I was growing up, I knew a group of brothers and sisters, schoolmates of mine. I was always impressed because they seemed so unconcerned about being with the “in group” or the “right people.” They didn’t even care much about wearing the newest thing, the latest style. They were all friendly, though, and all well liked. They seemed so secure, unafraid of failure.
Each of the six had his own personality, but all possessed one similar quality, a quality that I grew to greatly admire. It was a peace, a calm, a security, a naturalness, a confidence. None of these adjectives quite describe it, but it was there. You could feel it; you knew they had it. I was always interested in where it came from. It wasn’t from individual brilliance, exceptional athletic ability, or particular handsomeness or beauty; they were pretty average in each of these categories. The clue seemed to be in their love and acceptance of each other.
One day an unexpected opportunity came to discover the true source of their confidence. The family moved into a house just across the block from my house. Now, instead of seeing them just in school, I saw them at home, and the secret was revealed! The confidence, the assurance, the security, the unity came from the unconditional love in their home. From the outside their home was ordinary; on the inside it was extraordinary.
I remember the youngest child, who was just turning two. The first words he ever said were, “Ah, mush,” a phrase often used in the family to poke fun at the frequent hugs and pats and physical affection that were shown in the house.
I know now that the secret was in the warmth and acceptance and security of that home–a joy irreplaceable, and unavailable from any other source.

How To

Genealogy. Children love knowing “where they came from” in the genealogical sense. Some ways to convey this are:
1. Frame old family pictures and group them together on a special wall.
2. Draw a simple family tree, with each child as a branch and the parents as the trunk, and the grandparents as individual roots. Put pictures of the parents and grandparents on the trunk and roots and of brothers and sisters on the limbs. Frame it and hang it on the same wall as the ancestor pictures.
Consistency. Children need to be able to depend on certain constants in their lives. There are four areas in which consistency is particularly important:
1. In discipline. If a family law is broken, the punishment or consequence should be automatic, expected & consistent.
2. In example. Make yourself predictable to your children–trying to always do right in their presence, but admitting mistakes.
3. In regular schedules for certain important things such as the evening meal or a weekly family meeting.
4. In always keeping promises.
Constant awareness of promises.
1. Support each other’s activities
2. Show love for your spouse openly. As the saying goes, “The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
Family song or chant: “Because We Are a Family.”

Mom always loves me, don’t you see,
Because we are a family.

When I’m scared, Dad holds me on his knee,
Because we are a family.

Who helps each other? You see, it’s we,
Because we are a family.

We hug a lot and kiss…well, gee,
Because we are a family.

We work at becoming the best we can be,
Because we are a family.

We keep our house as neat as can be,
Because we are a family.

We work things out when we disagree,
Because we are a family.

My mom and dad are proud of me,
Because we are a family.

I cheer for my brother and he cheers for me,
Because we are a family.

When someone needs us, we try to see,
Because we are a family!

Display open gratitude for children. How simple–and how incredibly important–it is to let a child know how much he is wanted and needed, how precious and important he is to the family.
Tell the child a simple story about the day (or night) he was born and about how much you wanted him and how happy he made you.

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