We Are Family

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The key to happiness is under your roof

By Jeanette W. Bennett

The Browns are an ordinary family.

Sure, they’ve been jet-setting across the country the past few weeks promoting their new album on “The Tonight Show,” “Good Morning America” and countless other media outlets. But they are simply a family of five children — three girls and two boys — who played house when they were little and occasionally argue about where to go for dinner.

The musical family shares plenty of laughs — especially over a random interview from a Christian radio personality who asked Melody if she was working on her MRS degree — but they’ve also shed some tears along the way about their classes, relationships, burn-out and disappointments. They know they don’t know all the answers for being a happy family, but they do have a few ideas on what worked for them and what will likely strike a chord with other families. For example, they suggest having a family hobby. Be a last name that has an identity. Be the family that sings together, skis together, plays games on Sunday nights or takes vacations together. Create a closeness that celebrates individuality but promotes unity.

The five Brown siblings are wise beyond their 20-something years, and they are never at a shortage to share their ideas. In fact, the biggest test of my typing ability was keeping up with the five Browns and their parents as they all wanted to chime in at the same time during our interview in their Alpine home. But all that talking and piano playing have somehow brought wisdom and harmony to the family. And they believe every family should find a way to get in tune with each other.

All evidence shows the Browns are on to something. The Smith family — headed by father and sculptor Dennis Smith — shares a love for art. Each of the six siblings expresses themselves in a uniquely creative way, and the result is a family speckled with character. The Andelin family’s most unique characteristic is its size — 13 children. But they also are known for their musical ability, organization and work ethic.

Utah is leading the fight for the family in the United States. Our political, religious and social leaders are taking a stand for family values and encouraging others to put a priority on the family. Fortunately, our community can be an assistant parent. See page 73 for fun family ideas in Heber Valley, including ideas for all four spectacularly colorful seasons. Our calendar, which is one of the most popular parts of Utah Valley Magazine, has dozens of ideas for family night, date night or a night on the town with visiting relatives.

Regardless of your family size, age, station or economic situation, there’s always room for a little more happiness. The Browns have found it takes five grand pianos to create musical harmony in their home. Perhaps for you, you’ll need five minutes of snuggling with your young daughter or five bowls of ice cream (not per person, mind you) to get the communication lines flowing. Or maybe you’ll find some small or big reason to say “give me five” to someone at your dining room table. Take five and dig into this issue. Your family will be glad you did.

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