“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Thus begins Anna Karenina with one of Tolstoy’s most famous lines. Ignoring what I know of the rest of Tolstoy’s work, it makes me think that perhaps all families are different, and thus each must be unhappy in its own way.
But thinking of every family as unhappy in its own way is depressing, even if true to some extent.
So I contemplate the flip side. What if we are all striving for the same thing in familial happiness? We may think that our dreams look so very different (you with your exec husband and large summer house on the beach and me with my little garden and husband who is always home for dinner) but perhaps they are the same to the extent that they actually make us happy.
What does a happy family look like to you?
- I am thankful 8/1/2010
- I am thankful 8/8/2010
I think happy families come in all shapes and sizes. The happy isn’t necessarily something you see in the make up of the family like where the dad works or if the mom stays home to care for children or if there is zero, one or eight children. I think happy is something you see in the interactions of the family. Are the parents respectful and providing a good example of love for the children? Are the children respectful and loving of each other and of their parents? Is there laughter? Is there shared tears? stuff like that.
I agree with you and Michelle – that happy families come in all shapes and sizes.
Perhaps it is the imprint on our souls that are the same, made from the happiness – not the circumstances that created the happiness?
That seems like a good explanation to me.
I think a happy family can fight like cats and dogs and bounce back from it. I know my family fights a lot but we move past it, try to understand each other, and we are always there when someone is in need. That’s a happy family, a group of people that will call you out on your crap but still love you in spite of it.
Being able to fight well and kindly is so important!
I think it’s very important for a family to have respect and open communication.