1. Always appear before your family in good humor.
Nothing is so depressing as a father or mother out of
sorts. See that the family never has to suffer because of
your nervousness or irritability.
2.Never weary in cheering your family with your smile. It
is not enough to avoid depressing them; you must
brighten them up and let their spirits expand. Be especially
vigilant when the little ones are around. Give them
the alms of a smile, hard though it be at times. What a pity
when children have to say, “I don’t like it at home.”
3.What can be shared, speak of it openly. If something
must not be told, then don’t tell it. Do share what
you can so everyone profits by your experience, especially
4.Amiably show the greatest interest in the smallest
things. Family problems are generally not affairs of
state, but everything that concerns those we love most
in this world should be worthy of interest: the baby’s
first tooth, the honor ribbon won at school, the entrance
of one of the little ones into the Holy Childhood
5.Banish exaggerated asceticism from your life. If your
home is Christian and each member of the family is
learning to carry his cross, then it is essential to avoid
making others suffer by a too ostentatious or inopportune
austerity. There is abundant opportunity for self renunciation
in devoting oneself to procuring joy for others.
Marie Antoinette de Geuser used to sacrifice her great longing
for recollection and her taste for a simple life by accompanying
her brothers to evening affairs for which she
wore dresses that she said “made her look vain.”
6. Be sure to treat all alike. Nothing is so disrupting to
home life as favoritism for one or the other child.
The same measure for all!
7. Never think of yourself, but always of them in a joyous
spirit. Henry the Fourth of France used to crawl
around on all fours, with his children on his back, to
enliven the family get-together. Louis Racine, son of the
famous French playwright, author of “Athalie,” relates,
“My father was never so happy as when he was free to
leave the royal court and spend a few days with us. Even
in the presence of strangers, he dared to be a father; he
belonged to all our games.”
8. Never begin an argument; always speak prudently.
Discussion should not be banned unless it develops
into bickering. A free habit of exchanging ideas on a
broadening subject cannot but be profitable; the children
should even be encouraged and led into it to develop
in them a wise and discriminating mind and a
habit of suspended judgment. Unsavory and disturbing
subjects and those beyond their depth naturally
ought to be avoided.
9. Always act patiently and answer graciously. That it
takes the “patience of an angel” to rule vigilantly
over the little world of the family is beyond question.
Affability is essential.
10. By good will you will gain hearts and souls without
exception. Loving much is the key to gain all.
These slogans for a happy home life are not marvels
of prose, but do express a precious rule of wise
Adapted from Father Raoul Plus, S.J.’s Christ in the Home
(Colorado Springs, CO: Gardner Brothers, 1951), 241–
243. Christ in the Home is a treasure chest of advice for
Catholics on the practical and spiritual concerns of raising
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