By Tracy Liebmann
I believe the simple principles of family harmony are three fold, when you look at your family you must look at three key elements, body, mind, and spirit. A healthy family is like a healthy body, the system works together, almost effortlessly. The brain is functioning, the heart pumps, the lungs breathe and the body moves. In our families if every persons needs are being meet the family will be functioning well and in harmony with one another. It is important to check in with the three key elements to help the family work well together. What are the needs for the body, mind and spirit of each family member? Every human being is made up differently and everyone has different needs for food, sleep, quiet time, exercise, social interaction, spirituality and many other components that you will need to look at specifically for your family. I think one sure way of disrupting family harmony is when the adults in the family are deciding what everyone’s needs are around what they need. I believe this is a common problem in today’s culture, not taking children’s needs as seriously as our own.
The official definition for harmony in the Webster’s dictionary has to do with musical sounds which do not clash or has an agreeable effect. My interpretation of this in regards to our families is very similar; it is a just rightness in our families, it is a sense of inner peace that is flowing through all of us. We do not clash and we have an agreeable effect, of course this is true most of the time not all of the time, this is real life not the Hollywood version! Feeling a since of disharmony often comes up in my coaching practice and the places families tend to get out of balance tend to be around getting out of the house, food and bed time. Why do you think that is? Well, in my experience it is often due to expectations, like being on time or kids should be in bed by 9 PM, or unreasonable demands like eat all your vegetables or a 4 year old take a bath, brush his teeth and get into PJ’s without assistance.
If you are feeling like you want more harmony in your home chose one thing to work on at a time. Just be the “watcher” of what is going on that causes the disharmony. Try not to judge or fix the situation just watch, listen and learn from what is going on. Go back to the simple formula of looking for what each person needs to be feeling content and happy in his/her body, mind, and spirit. If getting out the door to go somewhere always ends in some type of drama; whose needs are not being met? Did little Johnny have all the time he needed to transition from what he was doing before you announced “lets go, we are late” or was Sara able to finish her level on her video game and save before you rushed her out the door? These things are very important to our kids, getting there on time is important to us! So we need to look for ways to get things ready and in the car in plenty of time and give the children as much time as they need to be prepared to leave. That will look different for every family, and once you figure out what everyone needs to accomplish the goal things will run smoother and everyone will be more agreeable.
In my family we all have lots of differences in temperament and personality. My husband is very social, active and craves time outside; my son is the exact opposite. I am a pretty easy going person who likes just about everything, I don’t have strong pulls toward any one thing, and I like a nice balance between a quiet private life at home and a social active life outside. My daughter is a combo of all of us; she is pretty good with going with the flow…which is wonderful! Going back to the illustration of the healthy family functions much like a healthy human body, I must say I represent the brain <wink>. I usually talk with every family member to see what their desires are; assimilate the information and share with the other parts. The kids represent the heart, they are always pumping new “blood” or life into the family system and my Husband is the lungs, he has the ability to breathe life into the family and keep up with it’s energy needs. As a family we decide how everyone can get their needs met, with good communication and willingness to give and take, we make a plan and ~all is well~!