“If you want to bring happiness to the world, go home and love your family”. Mother Teresa
Quite the directive from Mother Teresa!
Mother Teresa may not have been a biological mother, but she must have had a deep sense of the value of family. She understood that a happy family has a ripple effect on the world. If we can learn to project or promote a balanced degree of happiness in our nuclear family, we have the potential to change the world. What a concept! If we stop and think of influential families, do they tend to come from a happy home? I really don’t know the answer, but I’m sure Mother Teresa was onto something. It doesn’t mean that someone from a dysfunctional or difficult situation cannot be a promoter of happiness around the planet. There are so many resilient people that have risen above their circumstances to make a positive influence on the world. We need more people spreading love throughout the globe.
Happiness entered my world this Thanksgiving weekend because I had my 3 kids with me for a few days. This is not to say that I’m unhappy without them, but it certainly adds to my wellbeing. My Alfresco Thanksgiving lived up to my expectations, which isn’t the easiest thing to achieve. I must say, having some general thoughts and ideas did alleviate the last minute searching and plotting and trying to figure out what to do. We all know that having a plan for most anything in life is a useful tool. I’m sure Mother Teresa had a plan too. A plan to follow her calling, which was her happy place.
It really doesn’t take much to make me happy. Just knowing my kids are okay is really all I need. If I get to have them near me, that’s just icing on the cake, or clams on the chiminea. But, it’s not like that for everyone and every family. Families come with a variety of issues and problems. My family is far from perfect, but it is those rare times when we’re all together that make me the most happy. I don’t need to be a part of every conversation or intervene in a debate, just knowing my family is sharing space and time is really what makes me feel the most content. Being in the background while conversations unfold is very pleasant, even while doing dishes.
Like I said, these moments in time are few and far between, which probably isn’t that unusual for our mobile and somewhat disjointed life we live. Families spread out for many reasons. Kids leave for college, parents retire to a warmer or more affordable locations or employment takes you to far away lands. The days of everyone living in the same town is not as commonplace as it was when I grew up. I think it started to change in my lifetime, and now it really has caused a transitional family life, but it still can work.
I think having a variety of communication choices is key to living in different parts of the world. When my dad emigrated to USA from Norway, the only form of communication was through letters and the phone, and I’m certain, any letter writing was done by my mom. Phone conversations had to be made around timezones and were few and far between. But now, we can Skype, text, email and of course there’s still letter-writing and the phone. All these various forms of communications helps to bridge the gap of distance. Nothing is the same as being there, but I find I can still feel close to those in other parts of the world because of these various forms of networking.
So back to Mother Teresa. She was a mother figure to so many. Her influence around this vast earth is unmeasurable. Like many of us moms, she knew the simplicity of life was what had the most influence. The important values one learns in their home can transcend cultures. We need to be rooted and then grown in the basics: faith, hope and charity. If we practice these principles, what a better world there would be.
I look forward to reconnecting with my extended family in a few weeks. In away, I’m going home, but not to a place but to people I miss and love. So let’s continue to gather with our families as the holiday’s often allow, and when we do, let’s practice what we were taught as young children and reorient ourselves to the basic fundamental principles that can transform the world.
Let’s spread some faith, hope, charity and good will to all. We can do this!