A couple years ago I noticed that my children and I had developed a bad habit. When we were home together there seemed to be a lot of bickering, impatience, lack of respect for each other, and overall grumpiness. Of course, when people came to the house or when we went out in public we put on our happy faces and were kind and pleasant to those around us. This lack of integrity really bothered me. Why were we kinder to strangers than to the people we plan to spend eternity with?
We had talked often about our problem and agreed to work on it, but nothing seemed to change.
Then my oldest daughter was asked to sing at a baptism. The song was, “If the Savior Stood Beside Me”. As she sang this sweet song I knew that I would not be impatient or speak harshly to my children if the Savior stood beside me. My desire to change sent me to my knees for an idea how I could change myself and help my children to be kinder to each other.
Although I’d prayed about this problem in the past, this song gave me a new perspective on it. Finally an answer came that I could hear and understand. It felt overwhelming for us imperfect people to act like the Savior was always by our side, but maybe we could do it for an hour a day.
I made a proposal to my children. I explained the inspiration I’d received and asked if they would like to try it out. They were all excited to try it. We decided we needed a name for our hour of acting like the Savior were by our side. Several ideas were discussed and then my daughter, the same one that sang the song, suggested we call it Happy Hour! The kids all loved it. I chuckled knowing they had no clue what the world considered happy hour. But it was perfect – when we are trying to be like the Savior we are happy. So that was the name we picked.
Here were the simple rules:
Each morning pick what hour we would designate as Happy Hour (we wanted as many people home as possible).
We started that hour with a prayer, pleading that the Lord would help us.
Every person was responsible to do their best to act as though the Savior stood beside them.
The transformation was amazing! For one hour we could be patient, helpful, and cooperative. The older kids happily played with the little ones, read them books, or changed diapers. When a child needed me they became more important than the current task at hand – more important than laundry, dishes, lesson plans, and cleaning. Those things were set aside for a few minutes and replaced with a child sitting on my lap and me actually listening to what they were telling me.
The spirit in our home was amazing during Happy Hour. Each day we looked forward to participating in this experiment. Our relationships improved as did our ability to keep our baptismal covenant “to always remember Him”. The summer we incorporated Happy Hour was one of the best we’ve ever had!
Could your family use a daily “Happy Hour”?
By Marilee Blonquist