Do you ever study other families–in the park, at a restaurant, on a train ride, in a photo–and think “now, that’s a perfect family,” even if you don’t know a single member? I confess I do. Here’s what I daydream these “perfect families” have in common:
They hardly ever ask each other irritating questions; if they do, they don’t get hot and bothered.
They overlook one another’s irksome habits.
They don’t have unnatural expectations of one another.
They know just what to say when someone in the family is having a hard day.
They intently listen to one another.
They find every opportunity to spend time with one another.
They give one another thoughtful little gifts throughout the year.
They genuinely want to know how one another is doing.
They go out of their way to help out one another.
They hug and kiss one another.
They express their love for one another.
They don’t try to outsmart, outshine or outdo one another.
They make one another laugh.
They make one another think.
They don’t keep a scorecard about who does what for whom, and how often.
They actually want to vacation together, at least sometimes.
I imagine many of you must be saying I’m delusional. There isn’t a single perfect family on the face of the planet, you say, with absolute certainty. Perfect families exist only in fairytales. So, I thought it would be fun to visit the website www.quora.com to see how some folks answered the question: What is the perfect family like?
“A perfect family is when the parent(s) love their children and the children love their parent(s). There is mutual respect and they stick together in the hard times and enjoy the good times. The family face the uncertainties of life together and help each other. That is the perfect family,” wrote Chris Summers.
“A perfect family is a family where there is unconditional love and acceptance. There may be differences among the members, but it should never be prolonged for more than few minutes. Policy of forgive and forget should always be kept in mind,” Jaya Rajgopalan commented.
Chris and Jaya’s answers are unpretentious and simple. They say to me that perfect families don’t actually have to be perfect. Love, respect and acceptance trump irritations, hurtful actions or comments, and perfect families don’t even have to hug and kiss one another. Although that helps.
But, love, respect and acceptance don’t always come easily, and sometimes they don’t come at all. Or, they evaporate into thin air, and then the family evaporates along with them.
Please tell me how you define “perfect family.”