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Nov 24, 2015

9 Principles to Develop Happiness in Your Home

If our little families all over the globe really generate people, and the human capital that runs it, isn't it important to keep these units happy and functioning? Happy people, make a happy nations, make a happy world. One may take into account that social science shows the highest happiness levels exist within religious homes. Maybe those who believe in God are on to something? ;)  These practices of happy families are listed below.

1. Faith- “is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is by far the most important aspect of spiritual family life. Its like the powerhouse that keeps all the other spiritual aspects going. All the things listed below are extensions of this seed. Participate in family discussions where you all collectively look for solutions to problems that would be closest to what God would want for your family. It is a pillar of strength, and a picture of beauty to base the future of your family upon God's plan. Study and know the scriptures, attend church and act on direction given by  modern prophets to use them in all the moments you can while growing your family. That is where the plan is found... and the truth is, all of us can change and come unto Christ.  All of us have hope to move closer to a happy enterprising, loving family because of Jesus Christ.

2. Prayer- Communication with God... Pray daily with your family, with your spouse, and privately. Keep a prayer in your heart. I swear to you that there are moments where I have been at the end of my rope, and asked God what to do, and the Spirit gave me an answer. Even if family prayer is hard... (our oldest protests by climbing furniture sometimes)... your kids will remember what is important down the road. Pray in earnest for those that are struggling, especially for your spouse.

"When we kneel together and hold hands as a family it brings the Spirit and makes the children feel right ... and teaches that this is what our children should do with their families. It's special." - Mormon Mother.
3. Repentance-"The Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change. . . . Repenting means giving up all of our practices - personal family, ethnic, and national-- that are contrary to the commandments of God. The purpose of the Gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change." -Elaine Walton, Hillary M. Hendricks. It is the daily process of  confessing to God, and becoming like Jesus Christ through His infinite, and all encompassing Atonement.
4. Forgiveness- While repentance and forgiveness are two separate functions, they cannot exist without each other. Forgiveness of those around us is prerequisite to being forgiven by God of our own sins. I was a little skeptical before I experienced it, but God really does know what is going on when we as mortals often have no clue. Interestingly, forgiveness and repentance seem to catalyze one another. Additionally the lingering emotions kept when not forgiving oneself and others is linked to heath risks. Harboring anger frustration, friction and punishment towards each other tears families apart again and again. Having experienced this phenomenon recently, I will tell you  that to release myself from these dark long kept emotions was the most beautiful dawning of light and happiness in my life I have ever experienced. I am free. You bet I will continue to incorporate this amazing repentance forgiveness dance in my life. 

5. Respect- The Savior Taught "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This is probably the more looked over principle of happiness within a home because catching disrespect is deceptive. It is easier to find in our children, but harder to find in ourselves. We tend to deliver disrespect when we aren't thinking or are emotionally compromised. Here are some questions to consider as we search for better respect in our homes... Does the communication I am giving lift, and build that family member's self worth? When do I show disrespect, and what home environment factors trigger disrespect. Am I treating my family members more like people, or like animals or machines? Are there more important things in my life than time and energy spent with my family members? Respect can be fortified by developing the other aspects like love, compassion, and forgiveness.

6. Love- Charity is the "pure love of Christ". When love is spoken and felt in the home, the Holy Spirit can dwell there and teach our family members. When it is not present, we open ourselves and our children to be taught by other influences that will teach lies.: " Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth(boast or draw attention to) not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Christ is the embodiment of pure love. When we follow his ways, and pray to have charity within our hearts toward each family member... the gentle warmth of this feeling will draw you together in harmony.

7. Compassion - In the scriptures, compassion means literally “to suffer with.” It also means to show sympathy, pity, and mercy for another. Some of the most fundamental and beautiful ways to follow Christ is to mourn with those that morn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. Family members all have their own short comings and difficulties that may even take a lifetime to overcome. If you are having difficulty opening your heart to compassion, pray for a specific family member. Life is hard. Compassion may be, perhaps one of the closest ways we can emulate the Savior within our family relationships, and keep families together through the hard times.   

8. Work- For most of us, work leaves a bit of a bad taste in our mouth, as we hurry through it to get on to the seemingly more important things in life. To our ancestors, work was life, and was the primary place to teach and build relationships. A good attitude from parents is important. Simple, dirty, sweaty, repetitive work is one of the best ways to create love between people. A host of other good outcomes like life lessons of self-reliance, and positive self-concept, and the habit of industry will continue to give in a child’s life. The work ethic of the American people built this country and should continue. Require chores of your family members and do them together to foster comradery as much as you can.

9. Wholesome Recreation- In our world, especially in more affluent cultures it is becoming more common to recreate in ways that do not build relationships. Recreating by yourself, or engaging in parallel recreation like TV watching, shopping, or eating out are forms that are more weak and are less likely to create strong families. Studies indicate that strong families engage in recreation that is highly interactive like outdoor activities, playing sports, outside games, cooking, and drama games. Be creative. Service ranks as the most beneficial kind of recreational activity. So, maybe next time you just reach for a movie, do something different and throw your coats on to rake leaves for an elderly neighbor or volunteer to sort cans at a the homeless shelter. You will be amazed what memories and love will grow.

These principles really aren't that strange, and it works... Millions of other faith filled families will tell you it works too. The fact is, these faith filled families with spouses united in purpose under God tend to have the highest rates of success for their children and marriages succeeding, and higher reported levels of happiness. These practices will even help single parents ride the storm with spiritual power, and pass on these building blocks for happy homes to their children. The results don't lie. "By their fruits Ye shall know them". Mathew 7:16.

  Popular culture may find these practices archaic, or strange...but I say, do what really works. I challenge you to incorporate these things into your family lives and watch your relationships improve and the happiness happen. :) 

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