“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Happiness is hunted and pursued, sought diligently, maybe even recklessly. It has become a commodity, packaged and marketed to those desperate for fulfillment and contentment and peace. The more happiness is pursued, however, the more fleeting it seems to become. A hunt is not equivalent to a journey. A hunt looks for blood, but a journey is a quest for discovery. As people search for happiness as if it were an acquisition, it begs the question:
Is it possible to "acquire" happiness?
I believe the general consensus is: no. We can not purchase happiness or manipulate happiness or contrive happiness. It just is. Not accidentally nor arbitrarily....especially in family.
I'm always on the prowl for families that work. Every family has
ups and downs, but some families avoid unnecessary drama, some
families continue to find ways to grow together and stay together. I know I have little to teach and much to learn. I have always longed to be a student of others success. When I come to know a family that works, I plague them
questions. I want to know how they "tick." I want to know if it's just for show, or pulses deep within their family dynamic.
This is what I have come to determine:
Successful families have one consistent quality: respect.
Regardless of circumstance or age or culture or economic status, they respect one another.
Respect, as defined in the dictionary is: "esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability."
I suppose there could be little other goal of a family than to recognize and value the excellence of one another, and to bask in that recognition in return.
Respect, then, weaves a tapestry with threads of love and positive communication and validation. Respect becomes a platform for all to excel, and when all excel, meeting or even exceeding potential...that is success.
To compare or contrast ourselves with others can lead to reflection, and reflection is good because we must challenge ourselves, our comfort zone, our pride or our crutches. Acknowledging the success of others creates an honesty, when excuses fail to perpetuate vicious cycles that could continue to eat our own families alive.
Parenting is ever evolving and I think that is what makes it so exhausting...nothing is ever "figured out." And, the point isn't that I want to become another family. The point is: if I can celebrate success, and give pause to the genius of others....if I can be willing to admit that anyone of pure motive can be my teacher...if I am humble enough to see beyond ourselves...
we could, in effect, stand on the shoulders of giants and find our way a little closer to the stars.