Building Family Strengths: Contentment
Family contentment can be the measure of a family's mastery of the majority of the ten identified family strengths. Families must constantly evaluate goals and make decisions that will determine their contentment. If families can be open and discuss these goals and decisions, they are more likely to be contented and happy.
WHAT IS CONTENTMENT?
Contentment is the state of being happy and the satisfaction with the resources and circumstances that define the family. Fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness are terms related to family contentment. Contentment cannot be determined on what or how much we have - but on what we do with what we are given. Most families believe that good health, a strong faith and love are more important than material wealth or fame. Optimistic feelings are closely related to a sense of contentment for families. Happiness can be defined in a variety of ways. Permanent happiness does not come from winning the lottery, finding Mr./Miss Right, a big promotion, or receiving an "A" in Math. True happiness and contentment is ongoing and evolves as the family grows and develops throughout the years.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTENTMENT WITHIN FAMILIES
Families can promote more contentment with a family approach to goal-setting and decision-making. Members of a family are happier when they feel their opinions matter and that they are respected as contributing members of the family. A family can use the model below to discuss important family decisions.
- Identify the issue.
- Identify and discuss possible options.
- Compare the possible options - pros and cons.
- Make a joint family decision.
- Apply the decision.
- Evaluate the decision - revisit the issue if necessary.
Participating in this decision-making process can encourage family communication. Family members feel that their opinions, ideas, values and feelings are respected. This process can teach children to . . .
- Become aware of the concept of responsibility for their individual decisions.
- Understand what is involved in choosing a responsible course of action.
- Explore several options in all decisions.
- Take responsibility for their own decisions.
- Develop more personal responsibility.
- Understand that all decisions have consequences.
Reprinted with the permission of Clemson University. © 2008 Clemson University.
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