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Almost two years ago, our family gathered together to form a set of rules to follow. We did so for one reason and one reason only: Jimmy had a homework assignment due the next day.

His fifth-grade class was studying the U.S. Constitution, and each student had been given the task of gathering his or her family together to form their own family constitution.

As usual, he had waited until the last minute, but we managed to cooperate long enough to come up with our version of the Constitution.

We all signed it and even tried to get Glory in on the act, but she overpowered us and refused to press her paw down on the newly formed Zich Family Constitution.

Since it was Jimmy’s homework assignment, he deserves much of the credit for what you are about to read, such as using the name of a Lenny Kravitz song in Article 2.

However, as the mom and person who ended up typing our Constitution, I will admit to adding my own personal touch here and there. For instance, it was my idea to base the first Article on the Golden Rule from the Bible.

The Zich Family Constitution, January 2005

We, the members of the Zich family, have agreed upon this Constitution in order to promote harmony, goodwill and to keep its members from driving one another crazy or to avoid extremes of behavior.

In drawing up this Constitution, we hope to promote fun and bring joy into this household, wherever the United States Marine Corps may send us.

Article 1. Each member shall treat others as they would like to be treated.

Article 2. Love will rule between members of the Zich family.

Article 3. All members will be treated kindly, respectfully and have an equal opportunity to be heard at Family Meetings. A Family Meeting will be held only when all members are present.

Article 4. All homework will be completed on time, allowing a break immediately after school for snacks and play time. Parents will help with assignments when needed. Younger siblings with less homework will not tease older ones with a heavier burden to bear. Friends are not allowed to visit on days when one is overburdened with homework.

Article 5. If siblings cannot agree on what game to play, movie to watch, etc., a vote will be carried out in which the majority rules.

Article 6. Foul and disrespectful language, such as ”shut up,” will not be tolerated from any member of the family.

Article 7. We will all try to take care of our bodies and health, teeth included, by eating healthy food and exercising regularly. This rule also applies to Glory.

Article 8. Channel surfing is strictly forbidden when one member of the family is already watching a T.V. show. This rule may cancel out Article 5 if the show is already in progress.

Article 9. Candy and toys will be shared, unless special circumstances arise. For example, if Jimmy spends his own money on a Twix bar, he doesn’t have to share it, even if it is a king size Twix bar.

Article 10. When a member of the family leaves the house, he must say where he is going and when he will be back. Depending on his age, the family member may have to ask permission and have someone escort him.

Article 11. In exchange for following the rules of the Family Constitution and for being the most beloved children on earth, the Zich boys and Glory will be provided with food, clothing, shelter and love as long as they need it.

Some of you may have noticed that Article 10 specifically says “he” and “his.” I typed it that way so Glory and I could come and go as we please.

The Zich Family Constitution has held up well, but is in desperate need of some amendments. Between now and next Sunday, we will hold another Zich Family Meeting in order to agree upon what needs to be amended.

As before, I will be the one to have the final say on how the amendments are worded because it will be up to me to type them up.

After that task is completed, I’ll give a full report on our Family Meeting and new changes it brings to our own Constitution.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

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