Happiness is an emotion we experience as the result of an action. Going to Disneyland bring happiness (at least in our family), participating in our favorite activities brings us happiness. What if we are searching for more than occasional happiness in our family life?
Joy, on the other hand, is a feeling we experience through a deep sense of well-being. I am convinced there are things we can do to help our homes become a place where we can find joy. We can fill our family life with joy.
1. Spend time with family. It is the everyday time you spend with your family, not the huge vacations that result in true joy. Experience daily life together. Walking the dog, doing homework, cooking meals. Vacations can add to the joy, but won't create joy.
2. Participate in family dinner every night. This is a time for families to come together, visit and enjoy each others company. Try to keep arguing and fighting at a minimum. We try to do this by having assigned seats and always trying to sit at the table instead of the bar.
3. Hold a night devoted to doing things as a family. We call this family home evening. Everyone participates. Sometimes we participate in service, doing fun activities, working together to get something done at home or reinforcing family values we know will enhance our children's life if they choose to live them.
4. Support children by going to sporting events, music or art events. Show them we care by putting aside our personal workout schedule and events to make time to support them in something that is important to them.
5. Teach appreciation by expressing gratitude for what the family members contribute.
6. Talk about how school went, what is coming up for us and ask about upcoming activities for them. It is good to know what is going on in each others lives.
7. Sincerely compliment your spouse and children and let them know they are appreciated and missed when not there. Speak kind and uplifting words.
8. Participate in family scripture study. This is a great opportunity to teach children why making good choices in important, to answer questions and concerns and to explore the written word of God.
9. Tuck your kids into bed together with your spouse. Take time to visit about their day, read a bedtime story and always hug and kiss them good night telling them every night, "I love you". Hearing their sweet bedtime prayers has a way of melting away the bad and filling my heart with more love.
10. Put the technology away and make eye contact when talking. Let your family know they are the most important thing instead of feeling like we would rather be playing our iPhone game than talking with them.
Do these things on a regular and consistent basis. This is the key to success in finding joy in family life...consistency.