Mother Teresa is a treasure of wisdom and inspiration for today’s world. We can look to her for so many wonderful statements on how to be a good Christian. One such quote is, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
Perfection. What a beautiful way to communicate how we can make the best impact on society! John Paul II called the family “the building block of society” to instill the idea that the family is essential to the good of society and to impress upon us the need to focus on it.
Furthermore, the family has been given this designation as it is the place where human beings are shaped and formed to become good human beings who then go out into society to enact what they have received from their families. We can go deeper into this, and maybe will another day, but for now we can simply remember there is more to being in a family than just parents making sure their kids check all the boxes of growing up.
Family life should be a place of nourishment, growth, and unconditional love not just from parents to kids, but from everyone to everyone. We all need to focus on each other in order to better one another. We can receive what is given to us by others, and seek to give as well.
Not everyone still lives and encounters their family every day in the same way. When I read Mother Teresa’s words, I automatically think of how I can love my wife and children. Some of you reading this might not have that dynamic or currently live with others or by yourself. In these cases, I would simply substitute the term family with “roommates” or “neighbors”.
Whoever you live with or around, your love for those people is important. Loving our family is important because it builds them up so that they become the best version of themselves and then go out and be that in the world.
I do want to make sure that we remember that we are not just loving them in order to make them good citizens. We love our family members, whether is our children, our parents, siblings, or whoever we share a roof with, because love is what is owed to them as human persons and is what we were created to do.
I have come up with a list of ways we can love our family.
- Go as long as you can without complaining. If it helps to set a deadline, do that. Refraining from mentioning all the things you don’t like will positively affect your family regardless of how long you do.
- Pay attention to them. There is a big temptation to view yourself as the protagonist of the house while the other occupants are merely supporting characters. Break this viewpoint by paying attention to your family members. Learn their likes, dislikes, listen to their stories, remember where they go and what they do, and be involved in their lives.
- Do what they ask of you. Whatever it is, within reason, even if you hate doing it, just do it. Don’t base the decision on your feelings, as those tend to lead us astray.
- Don’t let them know when you’re bothered. This can be hard, especially when they are slurping their soup or chewing with their mouth open or singing loudly, but to simply put up with the annoyance can be a great act of love. If it is nothing serious, let them go on in their ignorance of thinking that they are not a nuisance. Offer up the annoyance for their souls. This will do more good than the comfort of not being bothered.
- Find out their love languages. If you haven’t heard of this, I recommend reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book explains everyone feels the most love and best shows love to others through one of five categories, which include gift giving, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, and quality time. A great way to love your family is to figure out how they feel the most loved.
We hope these help you to better love your family members and those you live with. If you have any to add, we would love to hear them! You can send them to email@example.com.