Does a happy family just happen? Or can you create it?

I just love teaching the 3rd key from EngageRx. It involves who you are and how to increase your happiness. You see, happier people are more engaging and influential than unhappy people. Dan Buettner (author of Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From The People Who Have Lived the Longest) found that happy people invest time playing with their children, nurturing their marriage and honoring their parents. Ironically, we often give less of ourselves to the ones we love the most. Do you spend more time planning for business success than planning for family success?

This inspired me to sit down and think about how to make sure our family and each member is happy. Being the geek you know me to be, I did a very fun (and admittedly geeky!) exercise with our family. It was a kid version of a mission/vision retreat. With markers and flip chart in hand, John and I gathered in the family room and drew pictures of three things:

1) What makes us happy?
2) What makes us feel satisfied or fulfilled?
3) What do we want for our family?

I then sat down and created themes that emerged. Later, over a special dinner out, we brainstormed our family values. In kid terms, it was: “What are the top 10 things we should try to do every day to help us be more happy, satisfied and fulfilled?” I was amazed with what the kids came up with. You can see them below. I put them into an info graphic and it now sits in our dining room so we can refer and talk about them daily.

We remind ourselves of these values when we would work through daily highs and lows, and refer to which of the 10 items could help solve the problems of the day.


large_ourfamily_infographic_2 copy 3Our family tries each day to…

1) be grateful! Appreciate and show thanks. We are lucky to have so much. Gratitude is the common trait of the happiest people.

2) be helpful! Reach out when we can to contribute to others.

3) be positive! Choose to see the glass as half full. Choose to smile instead of frown. Make each day count. Assume the best in others – knowing that you get what you look for.

4) be respectful, loving and kind! To yourself and others. Smile! Fill their bucket. Think of how the other person feels and show compassion and care. Relationships are like living things – they need nurturing. Embrace and learn from differences in everyone.

5) be curious! Seek to learn about people and places and things. Ask people about themselves. Read and learn. Grab new adventures.

6) be hard working! Go the extra mile – it always pays off in the end. Do things NOW. Try our best. Most stress comes from procrastination. Little things over time make a big difference.

7) be responsible! Do what we say we’ll do, when we say we will do it. Do what we know is right over what is easy.

8) be healthful! Respect our body. Choose to put nutritious things into our body and exercise daily. The small things add up – take the stairs instead of the elevator. Drink water instead of soda.

9) be balanced! Use our mind, body, heart and soul daily.

10) believe in yourself! You have everything you need to create a life of happiness.

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