The Portrait of a Perfect Family
We often see sugarcoated photographs in magazines, happy endings in movies and family photos in advertisements. In all of these places, they show the picture of “the ideal family.” But many times we don’t understand what this really means.
Is there a magic formula to have the perfect family? To answer this question, first you would have to determine what “family perfection” means. How can we be happy in the home despite the fact that we are all “imperfect” or don’t fit into the “social ideal”?
Married with two kids: the perfect family?
When you see an ad for a medical company, vacations to the Caribbean or car insurance, in most cases the image is of a family consisting of a couple, a little girl and a little boy. Of course, everyone looks happy. They are hugging and are all well-groomed. That is the concept of an ideal family that we’re sold from a young age. This is what we are all supposed to aspire to.
That’s why when you are in a relationship, people ask you about the wedding. They ask when you’re getting married or when you’re having kids. And when the first baby is born, they already want to know when the second one will come along. Or the “pair of little ones,” as people tend to say. In some way, with their questions, others define the path for you that they consider “normal.”
We’ve inherited this stereotype of the perfect family generation after generation. Back to the days when the girl helped with the housework, and the boy helped in the fields.
Is it possible to be a happy family?
In order to achieve a photograph similar to the ones in the advertisements, everyone has to be happy. For many, achieving happiness in the nucleus of the home seems like mission impossible. For others, it is a goal which you have to work towards every day.
We must think about Bruce Feiler’s affirmation in his essay “The Secrets of Happy Families”. In order to feel well, you need the people around you, the ones who live with you to be happy too. One of the most common problems couples find when they have children is how to not let the little ones’ happiness destroy their own. This includes, for example, all those dreams and concerns that parents put aside for the care of their children.
Working overtime, not buying new clothes, not going out to dinner or the movies. These are all activities that new parents suddenly have no time for. Especially if they don’t have the help of family members. People who can lend them a hand and stay with the children. How can we educate children in a fun environment if their guardians “don’t take care of themselves”?
How can I have an ideal family?
Beyond the standards of perfection that we have in mind, good families are not always happy. They are not as they are shown on television, in movies or in advertisements. Starting off with the fact that beyond happiness, what stands out in a good family is unconditional love. The siblings can get angry at each other. Yet, when they need each other, they know that they can count on one another unconditionally.
A good family is also a home, a place of refuge. A place from which we can always base our lives. Because they, our family members, will understand our mistakes better than anyone else. They will also be the most sincere. The ones who wont hesitate to tell us when they think we’re wrong. The ones who will sincerely share our joy when we taste success.
Yes, that too. A good family is one that laughs together and acts like a memory bank to fill our brain lapses. They give us memories of our first years of life, the ones which we barely remember. They remind us of our stumbles as little ones, so that we will never forget the healthy habit of laughing every once in a while at ourselves.
Thus, communication is vital to any relationship, including the ones within a family. This way, parents as well as children feel happy, valued, understood.
Of course, there will be moments in which that perfection is impossible. You’ll have to work to recover that virtue. However, there are lessons in the face of the adversities, especially if the family can get through them together.
Finally, we can say that the best families are those in which everyone feels like a part of everyone else. In which joy and pain are shared sincerely. In which strength resides in their union and in the moments they spend together.