In today’s world, we have a lifestyle in which we like to upgrade our physical possessions and conditions. We want a new car every couple of years, we want to remodel the house once in a while, we want to get a new wardrobe not because there’s anything wrong with the old one but because you can improve.
Shouldn’t our behavior at home be upgraded from time to time, too? Why shouldn’t our behavior become more beautiful, more elegant, more glamorous? How did we get so careless and inconsiderate with the people who are most important in our lives?
Now is the perfect opportunity. We are home and there is nowhere to go!
There is a famous saying that “familiarity breeds contempt”. While contempt is a harsh word, familiarity can breed ugliness – yet how can couples or families not be familiar? There is familiarity that brings us together and familiarity that destroys positive feelings, if we let it. It all ties back to how we spoke to our parents growing up. Training ourselves to distinguish how we speak to our parents directly translates to how we later speak to our spouse. Sometimes instead of looking for an answer to the big problem, if we simply make the right adjustments it’s all it resolves itself. Because of this, the first place to upgrade our lives is our tone of voice. If the tone becomes more elegant, more dignified, more respectful, it can only help our relationships across the board. Something as small as shifting that can have an amazingly positive effect.
The next place to upgrade is the boundaries of our relationships. If you can sit in your father’s chair the borders of our family have been violated. You shouldn’t roll your eyes at your parents. You shouldn’t talk to your parents or your spouse the same way you talk to others. By making this distinction in how we speak and act, children will again feel like they are the children in the family and the parents will feel like they are the parents in the family. Every relationship is a delicate relationship and has certain conditions under which it thrives. If you don’t provide your relationships with those conditions, all of the advice in the world about how to heal them won’t help.
The final thing to do to upgrade your life is to wait until the next day when you want to criticize your child or spouse. When you prepare, when you think in advance, when you want to tell something to your child or to your spouse but you wait for the right minute, for the right setting, for the right mood and then you say it – it’s always a home run. When we wait to share our feelings with our loved ones, there is more goodness in it. It shows that we took the care and consideration necessary to take our feedback for others seriously. By waiting, what you say will be a compliment instead of a criticism.
We have become accustomed to upgrading our physical surroundings, but the time has come to upgrade our family life with as much care and consideration.
Would you enjoy private, interactive Torah Classes with Rabbi Manis Friedman where you can get your questions answered? Join his VIP Community today. Click here to learn more.