Ten Commandments for a Happy Family by Msgr Ted Wojcicki
Share family meals – include time for conversation. Eating meals only in van or in front of fridge or TV is isolating, deflates trust, and promotes loneliness.
No portable electronic devices allowed at dining room table, at family meals in restaurants, or in children’s rooms overnight. Home desktop computer should be in public place.
Be loyal to your family. You can choose your friends but they mostly come and go. Your family is a blessing (or you are stuck with them and they with you) but they will often be the only ones remaining when you are in a real pinch. Even if you do not like some family members (or they don’t like you), do not build a wall.
In the reality of a family home, people can be at their very best, most heroic – and at their very worst, most embarrassing. To make a family survive and thrive, mercy must be abundant – each member being humble to ask for God’s mercy – and generous to share with others. Mercy is needed to heal – to make us whole.
Respect the private space of others. Respect boundaries. Knock at closed doors. Don’t read others’ mail (Exception: children should not be able to lock a parent out of their bedroom or social media accounts.)
The perfect family does not exist. All families have some degree of dysfunction. There are families that work and families that don’t – make your family work. Acknowledge the imperfections. Build on the strengths.
Spend time together: doing activities, just being together, celebrating special moments. Plan your family time. Avoid the temptation to lead an overscheduled existence which results in frenetic activity and a constant state of exhaustion. You plan your work, your recreation, social life with others – plan for family time first.
Pray together at least twice a day at home, before meals and before bed. Also attend Mass at least weekly. Do ten minutes of Eucharistic Adoration a week. A married couple benefits from daily prayer together.
Speak kindly to members of your family. Be mindful of your message, your choice of words, your tone of voice, your body language. If inappropriate for your boss, or co-worker, or personal friend, then inappropriate for a family member. Forbidden are: curse words, silent treatment, shouting from another room. Use speech to affirm – your family deserves it.
Be saints for one another in the home – and assist one another to become saints. Share the workload. Assist when someone needs help. Catch someone doing good and name it. Don’t just avoid doing bad in the home; take advantage of every opportunity to do good.