Family Focus: Family Blog Post #7 Family Harmony
“A family in harmony will prosper in everything.” Chinese Proverb
This week, I asked a client about her parents’ relationship, and she replied that her, “Mom and Dad have a Nicholas Sparks marriage.” Of course, being a sensitive kind of guy, I knew exactly what she meant. Their relationship was characterized by kindness, caring, giving, empathy, tenderness, and mutual emotional support. This was a home characterized by harmony. What does a harmonious home look like? Let’s talk about harmony first. When there is one tone, one line of notes, there is no harmony. But when you have two line of notes happening at the same time, they interact. In music, harmony is “the sounding of two or more musical notes, at the same time, that is pleasant or desired” (Dictionary.com). When you have two or more people living together, you have the possibility of harmony or non-harmony. The result can be pleasant or not. They can work together and mutually enhance one another… or they can be discordant and unpleasant. One is beautiful to behold; the other makes us shake our disheartened heads.
For this to work it families it must come by way of everyone seeing that is the whole family, the group viewed as a single unit as being the primary perspective… the primary value is the health and well-being of the family is of chief importance and not that of any single individual. In some cultures (especially those heavily influenced by Confucianism), this is the default view. In the United States, even though our country was founded on a firm base of rugged individualism, Christian doctrines of loving through sacrifice, humility, and leading by example (not power) balanced out that individualism that such that family harmony could still readily exist. This leavening influence of Christian doctrine and values has, however grown weak in many families, and completely absent in many others. So, what is left but focusing on self? Children and parents concern themselves primarily with what they want and need as individuals.
In a Facebook post by my soon-to-be-son-in-law Wade (that is a lot of hyphens), he had this quote: “Marriage and family can easily become a respectable form of selfishness. If we marry mainly to meet our own needs, then our marriages will be just that: good-looking masks for selfishness.” Our families, also, will be just individuals in the same home, doing their own selfish things and not working for the good of the whole and not working in harmony.
If there is selfishness in your marriage, there will be little or no harmony. Just two adults living in the same home. Not only that, there will be selfishness is your children. Selflessness must start with the parents and consciously and consistently modeled to the children. If your children are selfish… look to your modeling first, and then to your parenting styles.
A harmonious family is a beautiful thing, like a symphony of several instruments producing different sounds and tones, yet working together to produce a whole that satisfies and pleases.
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For His glory,