- Gender and Relationships
How To Make Happy Family Memories
How to Make Happy Family Memories
Sharing a "How To" method that could be beneficial was challenging. What topic did I know that well? Then I began filing through my mind for possibilities. Thinking, what could I possibly share that would be considered interesting and, most importantly, helpful. I then stopped on the one topic that makes my life worthwhile and offers the most value to share with others. My life has a foundation which penetrates every aspect of my life and is a universal recipe for something most people seek at various points throughout their life but sadly, according to statistics, few end up finding. It is what makes a truly functional family with a lifetime of abundant happy memories. What I share now comes completely from my life experiences and things I have learned.
It is a method that makes happy memories. Fond memories are sparkling, precious gems suspended in our mind waiting to be recalled bringing forth gifts of warm feelings and radiant smiles.
Necessary Foundation Requirements for Building a Functional Family
1. Building a Relationship with One's Creator
2. Providing Feelings of Belonging, Worthiness, and Competence in Everyday Family Life
The One Relationship That Makes All the Others Functional
Living By Faith
There is a pathway that leads to the greatest adventure ever. This is essential for a foundation of happy family memories.
The most important ingredient in building a connection and a lifelong, functional bond with your children is by instilling a common shared faith in their creator. All parents want their children to live happy, fulfilled, contented, and productive lives. And the undeniable truth and reality is that this kind of life cannot be found where God is left out. Peace is the main element of happiness. Peace can best be described as freedom from conflict and turmoil. A state of happiness is impossible to achieve where peace is absent. And a universal fact, too often overlooked, is that there is no peace in life without God. One must know one's creator to ever experience true peace and happiness.
For my family, the most valuable and beneficial time we spent together was in building our relationship with God. This was the most important family activity we did together and it brought us closer than any other activity we could have done. Bible reading, praying, and regular church attendance is how we built the foundation together allowing our family to thrive and our children to grow into the responsible, productive, happy adults they each have become. This is where genuine happy family memories start.
God and our faith in Him as a family made our life peaceful, happy, productive, and functional. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all this shall be added unto you." There is truth in God's promises and our family is living proof that God is the way to live life in truth, purpose, and hope. This is truly where life becomes the greatest adventure you could ever imagine. God's promises are available to all and He gives everyone the freedom to choose whether or not they will live a contented life blessed by His promises.
How Do I Know This Works?
This "How To" Comes Directly from My Life Experience
Since this is a "How To" topic, I am simply conveying to you a "How to" that I know works because I have lived it. As a child I was born into a family that did not acknowledge or honor God. This created a life of turmoil and damage filled with harmful experiences. At age ten, I became a born-again child of God, saved by His grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. This one relationship in my life made all the difference and led to a functional, happy life. However, at this point my physical circumstances had not changed, but my spiritual and emotional outlook was now on a different road.
When I married at age eighteen, the life with my Christian husband was heaven on earth because we honored God first and He blessed our lives together. My previous life of dysfunction was transformed into function and became a fertile ground for God to work and lead our family in His perfect will for our lives. Peace prevailed throughout all our life circumstances whether good or bad. Our lives were anchored to God and whether life brought us into a valley or on a mountain peak, we were happy because our trust was in our Heavenly Father. It's now been over 34 years later, and God has not let us down even once.
And at a future time when our family has all died and left this earth, we will then all be together in heaven. You cannot take material possessions with you to heaven. But you can spend eternity with your children in heaven when, through wisdom, you share with them the one relationship that guarantees eternal life in heaven.
How To Build Your Happy, Functional Family - living by Faith in complete Truth
I have learned from personal experience that the Bible is God's Instruction Book to man for a successful, happy life.
The Emotional Essentials for Connected Relationships
A Foundation for Happy Family Memories
No matter what you do, memories will be made. The question is will those memories be happy, warm-fuzzy ones you want to remember? Or will memories passed on to your children be ones filled with bad experiences that it feels best to forget? It again becomes a matter of choice and there is a concrete place to begin.
It starts with conscious choices in your daily actions and behaviors in all family interactions. The overall prevailing message that needs to be sent from parent to child is one instilling feelings of belonging, worthiness, and competency. And it is equally important that you consistently follow-up to insure that the message you intentionally send is the same message your children receive.
When these basic emotional essentials are conveyed daily, they in turn add feelings of acceptance, love, and security. At this point you build the strong foundation making emotional connection between parents and children possible. This is when positive connecting family memories are made and many of them will last for a lifetime, ultimately building a healthy relationship.
Essential Emotional Connection - This picture was taken on our family vacation to Okinawa, Japan.
Do you believe it is necessary to have a healthy emotional connection before positive, happy memories can be made?
With the Top Two Basics in Place, It is Easy to Build Happy Family Memories
Now family life begins a functional path. Minimizing selfish actions and building a caring, loving, understanding family unit where happy family memories can be created in common and unique ways.
Here are some ways our family created moments that we enjoy remembering--
Make Normal Routine Days Special
Look for Reasons to Celebrate
Every day life can be fun. It does not have to be boring and dull. Life ends up what it is because of the choices we make.
Making happy memories is an important part of building an emotional connection with the people in your life who mean the most. There are many ways to accomplish this by just being aware of your opportunities and applying a little direct planning. Some examples of everyday celebration to enjoy with family members may include watching a favorite TV program or movie, cooking a favorite meal for dinner, playing a favorite game, listening to a favorite song, taking a walk together and looking at flowers, or playing with your pet. One special thing we did was to celebrate unbirthdays with our children--the day would be the number their birthday was on but not the correct month. It would be just a small impromptu addition to the regular day, something to make it special and memorable such as a banner or a cake, etc.
Many times building positive memories is simply a matter of choice. You can make an effort to seize opportunities or remain in a self-inflicted rut of mundane routine. With my children, I wanted to do things that brightened their day and made them remember things throughout the years in a warm, fuzzy way. I know I did not succeed in grabbing all the opportunities available to me throughout the years but there is still an abundance of fond, happy memories that my family has to recall from our children's growing up years.
Take Family Vacations
This is a Great Way to Build Positive Memories
Planning bigger outings, such as family vacations can lead to precious, shared memories. Visiting places that are new to everyone in the family can be a tremendously connecting experience. This can create a bond that lasts a lifetime because of the many "remember when we" conversations which recall unique shared experiences.
There are many memories from our family travels but I have chosen a couple from our trip to Washington DC to share.
The first is simple but brings laughter every time we remember our taxi ride to the hotel. For some reason our daughter found the cab driver very amusing. He was very informative about "his" Washington DC and the music he played was truthfully very comical because it did not seem to match his personality at all. Our daughter has the gift of impersonating people and she has a routine for this guy that has kept him alive and well in our family's memories for many years. Just the mere mention of the DC cab ride brings abundant laughter, especially if our daughter is present to add her personal perspective.
My second very funny memory involves our tour of the White House. The year we visited the DC area was May 2001, a few months before the 911 tragedy. At this time you could still tour the White House. So my husband and I got up before daybreak to walk to the appropriate place and wait in line for the tickets we needed for our family to visit the White House.
When we arrived at the White House, there were security procedures in place just like in the airport. So we handed over our belongings for them to run through the scanner. Then the security guards bolted into action as if a terrorist threat was imminent. The guards grabbed my youngest sons backpack and began inspecting it as if it contained a bomb. The guards were so serious, not smiling at all. It had quickly become a very scary atmosphere and we could not imagine what they had found.
The two security guards pulled a "gun" out of my son's backpack, with sort of an "aha" attitude. Then they quickly realized it was a wooden, toy gun. They approached my son with serious faces and began explaining why this was so unacceptable. However they neither one could keep a straight face as they tried seriously to convey the magnitude of the circumstance. Their somber faces turned quickly into broad smiles as they explained to my son why he should not carry a gun into the White House. They then put the gun back into the backpack and sent us on inside.
The toy gun was a replica of a gun used back in the 1700's. We had purchased it at Williamsburg, Virginia when we had visited there the day before. This became quite the memory of our trip to Washington DC and is one we recall often. I have added a picture of the famous gun. It actually shoots caps.
Have Your Camera Ready - Get Those Pictures You Can Never Go Back and Get Later
Talk to your children often, even when it is night and your bedtime is long past, and the early morning light is beginning to shine forth breaking into a new day. The experience will become a memory greatly cherished throughout the remainder of your lifetime.
It will say loudly to your children, "Yes you do matter to me, you are valuable to me, I care what you think, and I am here for you whenever you need me." Good memories are built through one's ability to convey the worth they feel for another human being. And talking with a willingness to give of your time in a long conversation becomes a necessary part of building that relationship connection.
Time spent sharing feelings and thoughts builds good memories. And this time is never wasted but is invested.
A Glimpse Into Our McDonald's Years
Our Unique Family Memories as McDonald Restaurant Owner/Operators
This picture is of Ronald McDonald showing Jarrod, my youngest son, how to do a "thumbs up" and explaining why it is important.
Our family had a business and that family business happened to be two McDonald's Restaurants. We acquired our first restaurant when Jarrod, our youngest, was only eight months old. This became a time in our lives requiring much adjustment and hard work. A time of building memories through working together, learning together, and sharing a common goal. It became the busiest time in our life but it also was the most exciting and memorable. It was a dream come true.
There are many different aspects to the daily life of the McDonald's owner/operator. However, I found one of the most fun duties of owning a McDonald's Restaurant was bringing Ronald McDonald from his home in McDonaldland to our restaurants. These visits from Ronald also included taking him out into the community to visit the schools. And we also took him to the local radio station for interviews communicating our local agenda for his well publicized visit.
One thing worth sharing was the car rides as we traveled throughout our local area. It was extremely amusing to watch the looks on people's faces as they were shocked to see Ronald McDonald in the car next to them. They would stare in disbelief, laugh and forget to drive on after the stop light changed.
Spending time with Ronald McDonald was definitely a unique memory our family shares. Few children can claim that Ronald McDonald was present for a family meal in their home, actually seated at their personal dining table.
When we took Ronald to visit the area schools, he would usually give special attention to our children. They got to be the volunteer in the spotlight often.
With our McDonald's Restaurants our family definitely made many positive, happy memories throughout the years. Our McDonald's gave our family a common goal to work on together. Our children loved going to work with us even when they were very small. We were often asked about the labor laws but the truth is that if your family owns a business, the children are allowed to work in that business. Our children were blessed that the family business was one they wanted to go to and also one their friends went to often.
Obviously few families will have the opportunity to socialize with Ronald McDonald. This was a special characteristic of our family. But every family has some unique way to build happy memories that belong to them alone.
Get Your Very Own Ronald McDonald Here - Plus a Few of His Friends
A Wounded Daughter's Survival - by Deborah Leigh Alexander
A Wounded Daughter's Survival is about my triumph over adversity. It contrasts dysfunctional family life to functional family life. There are elements of romance, joy, and concrete ways that make a family work and grow in lifelong bonded relationships. It is an emotional journey of tragedy, victory, tears, thrills, heart-warming moments, and even a death to life experience. It also includes, through personal permission from the singer/song- writer, lyrics of a popular song. A song which fits perfectly to describe a miracle experienced, after surviving a deadly tragedy.
Order your copy now--in your choice of trade paperback, hardcover, or ebook.
A Wounded Daughter's Survival brings awareness to childhood emotional abuse. It clearly relates the damage this causes, relates that many suffer in silence because it is a condition so misunderstood, and offers solutions for healing. It tells of hope for a hurting world where multitudes damaged by emotional abuse can climb out of the pit of depression and despair. And then go on to live a functional happy life in spite of damaging beginnings.
If you have not suffered from childhood emotional abuse, you very likely know someone who has. It is a condition reaching epidemic proportions in society today.
The Holy Bible - God's Instruction Book for Life
Get to Know God by Reading His Word Daily
Here are 3 Bibles I have that I refer to and read often. They each offer additional information regarding scripture.
Remember, The Most Important Thing
Determining to do anything in human strength alone sets us up for failure and frustration. Allowing God into our life to guide brings stability and is the one decision which will guarantee our success. Without God, we are more likely to bring emotional damage and harm where our intention is to have function and peace.
A personal relationship with God is "The Most Important Thing" in building a functional, emotionally connected family, able to build truly happy memories.
Movies to Inspire - Movies With a Positively Profound Impact
The stories in these movies have the potential to forever change your life for better and build stronger families.
Suggestions for Building Your Own Connecting Happy Family Memories
- Making everyday days special and memorable
- Be there for each other in time of need and provide support when obstacles and trials arise
- Learn new things together, share hobbies, activities, or anything of interest you have never tried before
- Help others together, share time and resources with those in need
- Working together builds emotional connection and relationship This can be doing household chores together or running a family business together. Maybe it is just occasionally taking your child to your workplace when allowed
- Having fun together also builds relationships. Shared interest brings emotional connection by exploring common areas of interest.
- Talk often. Make yourself available for your children. Make your family environment one that is best described as "Be Here Now". Be dependable, this makes your children secure.
Talking and listening is a major way to connect and build a relationship
- Take vacations together--Experiencing completely new things together is extremely connecting and builds happy memories that last a life-time.
- Take family photos, these help recall memorable times. Make a photo album together or a photo collage to hang on the wall.
A family photo collage makes a perfect gift for the graduate heading off to college.
- Mutual respect and genuine caring. Also listening with an empathetic and understanding ear goes a long way in building relationships.
Above all, open up your life for sharing of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and anything unique that makes you be you. Your family should know you better than anyone else does.
Photo credit: All photos on this page are my own. They are not to be shared or copied without my permission.