There are 7 essential elements that seem to be part of the happy families I know. As I thought about what makes a happy family, my chorus came to mind.
I love all the women in my chorus; all 110 of them! When I joined ten years ago, it was as if I had an instant set of new friends that shared one of my passions: singing harmony. I’d like to pass on to you some lessons I’ve learned from being in this family of singers that might help you have a happier family life.
Love is the most important element in any happy group. Every one of the singers in my chorus loves music and loves what happens when we sing together with love as our reason to be doing it. Our supreme goal is to have that love reflected out to our audience, lifting each person and changing the atmosphere in the room.
Of course we love our families and when all of our “To Do” lists are crossed off and our fondest figuring outs are quieted; our love is the most important part of our experience as moms.
Child Locked in Antique Safe
A few years ago, I was at a grand opening of an internationally known bronze sculptor’s establishment. It was held in an historic building that has been restored to its original integrity. After the festivities, a child accidentally closed the door to an antique, walk-in safe, seeming to seal her younger cousin inside! The mother of the child in the safe went nuclear!
She had been one of the main organizers of the event and all the fussing and preparation for the big ceremony paled to the agony of this mother as she stood on the outside of the safe in hysterical horror. As it turned out, the safe had not locked. All it took was a screwdriver and a few minutes to nudge the heavy door open.
What I observed was a mother who was instantly reminded of what was really important in her life. Love of her child. Organizing the event, which I’m sure had consumed much of her time, was insignificant compared to her child’s life in that moment.
For me there’s joy in singing and the members of my chorus, experience joy singing as one voice. We have such fun playing with each word, note, chord and line of the songs we sing and sometimes we sing a line over and over again until we get it, well, perfect.
As peacemakers and peacekeepers (not homemakers and housekeepers) when we can find joy in the mundane, we have mastered life. Much of our time is taken up in the repetitive necessities of life, like cleaning, cooking, organizing; the basic stuff of routines. If we can come to a place where we are actually thrilled to take care of the everyday responsibilities, we’ll not only up our joy quotient, but that of our family too.
Humor is so essential. In my chorus, our director has a wonderful sense of humor and our chorus reflects his humorous lead. In this link to a performance by my chorus, you’ll see the humor that makes you want to come and join us.
When parents have a healthy sense of humor, the stresses of everyday life are diminished. Laughter is like a spiritual milkshake and I believe a family that laughs together lives a spiritual life whether they attend a church, temple or mosque.
In my chorus, we experience unity. Without cooperation we can’t create a wall of sound that wafts over our audiences and relays our intention of love and joy of the music.
There is absolutely no coincidence we are with the family we are with. When we “get” that, we can create a home life that’s heaven on earth. When parents create a united front when raising children, the children thrive. When siblings cooperate, the family unit thrives.
Every song has a special rhythm and each day in our homes there is also a special rhythm. Sunday feels different than Monday or Friday. When we have a plan for each day we can get into a rhythm that gives our family a place to thrive.
Trust is a crucial element in any group. It involves trusting each other so that the group as a whole can be better than the members can be individually. In my chorus, we have to trust that each singer is singing exactly what the “plan” is. Each of the four parts has to trust the other three, for if just one person sings off key or is out of sync, it throws the whole chorus off.
As members of a family, we’re more than what we would be individually when we trust each other. We fit into a unit that creates wholeness that we could not experience if we were not together. It involves trust of each other’s parts.
Performance is all about how we live. David Brudnov said, “Life is not a rehearsal.” In the last year, as my chorus has “rehearsed” for a competition that is coming in November, we have had to appear on the risers in what our director calls, “performance” mode. In other words we don’t get to have an attitude of rehearsing, but we have to act as if it is a real performance.
Create the Climate
As peacemakers and peacekeepers, we are the absolute setters of the “climate” of our homes and when we are in “performance” mode with our families, we have all of our energies and awareness focused on the yummy challenge of running a home in harmony. When we put forth an attitude of love, joy, unity, humor, rhythm and trust, and we do that in performance mode, we automatically create harmony in our homes which produces happy families.
I’ll be off to Baltimore next week with my chorus. We’ll be competing on the International stage. It’s sort of the Olympics of the Sweet Adeline Organization. I’ll let you know how we do!
Let’s perform our role as peacemakers and use our love, joy, unity, humor, rhythm and trust to create happier families. Now I have to go rehearse!