I listen to them as they clean the dining room floor. Hubby is supervising the cleaning because no matter how much I work at it, cleaning is not a gift of mine. I get too distracted by other things and find myself with twelve different tasks going on at the same time and nothing finished. Fortunately for us all, Hubby understands how to get one task done before moving onto the next. (But that’s a blog post for another day 🙂 )
One child is certainly not taking the cleaning lesson cheerfully. She whines that she’ll never get done. Her eyes turn red with unshed tears, and she bemoans the work ahead. While my Hubby tells her that she needs an attitude change my question for her is: How are we going to help her attitude?
While I firmly believe that Christ is the only thing that makes a heart truly joyful, let’s face the fact that, in our life, good moods come and go. How do we nurture those good moods for a happy home? While I don’t have a complete answer, I was reminded of this verse today as I listened to my daughter complain and have a miserable time helping out around the house. Proverbs 17:22 says,
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
I may not have a complete answer, but I do have some suggestions for adding some cheerfulness and joy into your home. These are the things that we are trying (even when it’s hard) to implement with our children in the hopes that it will add create a happy home.
First, I’m sharing the love of Jesus with my children. I’m not sharing them Jesus’s love as a list of must-dos and must-not dos. That would probably be the easiest way to turn my children off of Jesus. So, instead I’m helping them to see Jesus and his love and the joy that he has brought me. I show them how I follow Jesus in the hopes that they’ll be drawn to the Jesus in me. Some days it’s very hard, but it’s important to me.
The second thing we’re trying to do is to is fill our home with laughter. This isn’t something that comes naturally to me. You might have noticed from my writing that I tend to take life seriously and introspectively. I married well though. My husband, whom I love so much, tends to find the fun and the funny in life.
So, while he manages the fun, I work on loving and engaging with the children. I work on giving each of them the special time that they need. I work on creating a relaxed environment. While this is to make our home peaceful, I find that ultimately I’m the person most changed by this and because I’m cultivating peace in my life, I have that peace to extend to others. It makes our whole house happier.
Third, I try to look for ways for the children to get along. Our main household rule is to be kind to each other. So, I encourage the children to think of others and to be kind to them, even when it’s hard. It’s often been hard for me, and a big part of creating a more peaceful home for me has been placing my children over my heart and praying for them.
The best advice I can give to any of my children is that, when they tell me one of the others is driving them up the wall, helping them to pray for each other. It’s hard to hold anger and hurts against someone you’re actively praying for.
Finally, as an outgrowth of that, I want them to love each other. They they don’t love each other, my role as a parent has been a failure. I point out to the children when the other child may have a point that their not seeing. I encourage them to deal quickly with hurts and grudges. It’s important for them to go to someone who’s hurt them and let them know so that they can move forward. Keeping our relationships in our house peaceful is a big part of what will keep our whole home peaceful and cheerful.
I know that a lot of my child’s difficulty in having a cheerful heart stems from her childish immaturity, and I work be patient and kind and to cover her with love and prayers. I have faith that over time God will change her heart.