"What’s the secret to a happy family? Researchers have studied tens of thousands of families to find out – and the happiest share the same traits……
* For instance, they keep the faith. A study by the University of North Carolina found that families who say grace before meals and attend religious services get along better than families who don’t. Why? Because faith gives people a common interest and common values.
* Happy families are not the cleanest families, though…Research shows that the happiest homes are also the least tidy. Because when parents get so focused on the way the house looks, it can set a negative tone……It says that folded laundry and dust-free shelves are more important than emotional issues. It can also set the stage for power struggles that resonate through the entire family. That comes from psychologist Pat Stewart. Of course, it doesn’t mean you should live like slobs, but cleanliness shouldn’t be your highest priority.
* The happiest families also do two things: They display family photos and they have collections that everybody participates in – whether it’s stamps, teapots, or anything else. Both things increase the bond between family members.
* Happy families also have set dinner times. Research shows that people with consistent routines are less stressed and more satisfied with their daily lives. Routines give every member something they can depend on.
* And one last thing happy families have in common? A family pet. 70% of the families surveyed by Texas A&M University said there was an increase in family happiness and a decrease in stress after they got a pet. Children who own a pet have higher self-esteem and are more likely to take part in sports, hobbies – and even household chores. Families with pets are also more likely to feel hopeful when dealing with a stressful situation.
So sit down to dinner with your family at a set time, talk about adopting a pet, and then leave the dishes for later after you work on your coin collection. And if you want to know more, the book is called “100 Secrets of Happy Families” by David Niven."
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (I Thessalonians 5:11)