Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of  Jim Burns's book, The 10 Building Blocks for a Solid Family, (Regal Books, 2010).  

Since every family and each person in it is unique, there's no magic, one-size-fits-all parenting plan that's guaranteed to give you a healthy and happy family.  And since nobody is perfect in this fallen world, there's no such thing as a perfect family.  But there are some basic principles that will help you create a family which each member can grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally - which will help you build the healthy, happy family God wants you to enjoy.

Here's how you can healthy and happy family:

Be there.  Your kids regard your very presence as a sign of caring and connectedness.  It's crucial for you to spend as much time as possible with them.  Keep in mind that your job as a parent is a calling from God - more important than any other work you do, including the job you get paid to do - and your influence on your kids will be your greatest legacy.  Ask God to help you make whatever sacrifices you need to make to free up your time and energy to be there for your kids often.  Be available to talk with them, help them, attend their events, and cheer them on in their various pursuits.  Your kids crave your presence, and nothing can make up for your absence.  Be creative about how you can spend time with each of your kids one-on-one regularly, from going of a hike to playing a board game together.

Express affirmation, warmth, and encouragement.  Parents who practice loving parenting, as opposed to shame-based parenting, will create a home where children and spouses feel more secure.  So avoid shame-based parenting, which is performance-oriented and approval-focused, using words and actions that cause kids to think that they aren't loved or valuable.  Instead, aim to make your kids feel accepted, appreciated, listened to, and loved.  Give your kids confidence by letting them know that you believe in them, value them, and enjoy them.  Say "I love you" to them often, and give them plenty of physical affection like hugs, kisses, and back rubs.  Rather than just jumping into their to-do lists with them, share some relaxed conversations with them after they get home from school and before they go to bed.  Let go of unrealistic expectations for them.  Encourage them to pursue their areas of interest and become the people God wants them to become.

Build healthy morals and values.  The decisions that kids make today will often affect them for the rest of their lives.  Study the culture so you can understand what cultural influences currently pose a danger to your kids spiritually.  Pray for God's help to teach biblical values and morals to your kids in ways they can best learn.  Talk openly and honestly with your kids about sex, alcohol, and other drugs from when they're young, all the way through their teen years, answering their questions and discussing issues in age-appropriate ways.  Encourage them to commit to living a lifestyle of purity, including honoring God with their bodies, renewing their minds for good, turning their eyes and ears away from what's worthless, and guarding their hearts above all else.  Get to know what your kids watch on TV and in the movies, what websites they visit, what music they listen to, and what video games they play.  Watch and listen together with them as often as possible, and talk with them about the content to help them learn to think critically about it.  Restrict their access to vulgar media content.