Here they are, the Zich Family Constitutional Amendments!

Last week, I described the Zich Family Constitution, as it was written in January 2005. Originally a fifth-grade homework project of my oldest son, it turned into something that involved the entire family.

In order to come up with a Family Constitution, we had to first gather in one place and come up with some rules to live by that everyone could agree on.

On a cold winter’s night before the project was due, the first ever Zich Family Meeting was held.

Everyone was in attendance, including Glory, and Ronnie sat in my lap. Almost two years later, we’ve held many family meetings, each more rambunctious than the last. But we haven’t needed to amend our beloved constitution until now.

Take it from the expert; things have gotten way out of hand around here lately. The snoring dog beside me is probably the only Zich who doesn’t need a few more rules to follow.

The days of Ronnie sitting on my lap are over. This time, he wanted to write a couple of the amendments and gets full credit for numbers 9 and 10.

Instead of calling the first 10 amendments to our constitution the Bill of Rights, I’ve decided the Bill to Avoid Fights makes more sense. The name isn’t as catchy, but it works for us … or at least I hope it will.

The family meeting we held last week fell apart quickly. I had barely written four amendments when the boys literally took over and came up with their own “better” ones.

Zich family bill to avoid fights

Amendment 1. No hitting, biting, kicking or punching will be tolerated.

Amendment 2. All language in our home must be G or PG-rated, NOT PG-13 as Jimmy suggested. In simpler terms, “No cussing, boys!”

Amendment 3. Anyone who yells at another family member must be silent for five minutes to give everyone’s ears a rest. An apology offered to the yelled-at person can shorten the silent time.

Amendment 4. Dirty clothes and towels go in the various laundry baskets set up in practically every room of the house, not on the floor.

Amendment 5. Teasing will be punished.

Amendment 6. If someone wants you to stay out of his room, you can’t go in.

Amendment 7. All two-player Nintendo Game Cube games must be shared. (Tommy’s rule) If the player is already involved in a game, he doesn’t have to. (Jimmy’s rule.)

Amendment 8. Daddy can’t boss us around.

Amendment 9. Share all toys.

Amendment 10. You have to sleep with at least one stuffed animal.

We never held an official vote to ratify the amendments, which is how Jimmy’s, “Daddy can’t boss us around,” managed to sneak in there.

Ron was too busy laughing at Ronnie’s insistence that we each sleep with a stuffed animal.

Our amendments won’t be written down and turned in for a homework assignment, like the last ones, but I will print out a copy for the refrigerator.

At least a rule or two or three gets broken every day, but we have proof that we are trying and that in this family every voice is heard.

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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