Thursday, May 5, 2016

Family Happiness: Is There Anything More Important?

A father of three children,  a member of the Seoul Diocesan pastoral office in family matters, writes in the Kyeongyang magazine about family happiness. May is family month, and he gives us his thoughts on the subject.
Speak with your eyes is his first recommendation. Our eyes are the passage way from  one heart to another heart. If we don't look our family members in the eye, we are not communicating heart to heart. Make sure to remove strength from our eyes  when we look at a family member: we look at them with a soft and attentive gaze. 

Embarrassed, we don't turn our eyes away to the nose or other parts of the face but look directly into the eyes. We have to become used to looking directly and warmly into the eyes of the family member and begin talking and showing our love. 

He mentions not to be stingy in hugging. We have the five senses of hearing, tasting, smelling, sight and touch; the most sensitive of the five is touch. It is the sense that easily conveys love.

Koreans often say they want to return to the mother's bosom since that is the place they felt fully embraced. He reminds us the cry of the baby after birth is for loss of that embrace the child felt within the womb: embracing  the baby the crying stops. Another name for the embrace is longing. One hug is worth a hundred words.

Never fight in front of the children. Children are taken up in their own world: they are at the center and the sun is rising for them everyday. When parents fight they consider it their fault: "I am no longer lovable; I am of no value;  my life will only be full of sadness; I am afraid of the world. My mother and father are fighting like this here and now."

If the children come into the room when the parents are fighting they should stop immediately, no matter what,  and tell them they must be  surprised to see the parent's fighting, but  they are not the reason for the fight. When they have resolved the problem, they should make it clear to the children they have reconciled and show it by a kiss. It is not easy to be parents.

Refrain from giving  admonitions. The reason for dialog is not  to solve problems but to understand and be sympathetic. When this is absent no matter how much one tries, matters only get worse. Most of the time  when you have understanding and sympathy problems are solved. Many of us are like frogs and see only what is next to us. We are not moved as much by words as we are by a person that cares for us.

In the family, there is no need for a prosecutor who  determines who  is right and who is wrong, but rather a family lawyer who adjudicates on what is  best for the family.  In Korea, the word for a family member is one who eats together: this should be the case at least once a day.
He finishes the article by telling the readers that the problem is not a lack of knowledge on what to do,  but rather we find all kinds of reasons for not doing what we know we should.  Knowing what to do is not what is  important but doing it. "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

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