Thursday, January 23, 2014

3. Building a family culture

We all have a family culture, whether we're intentionally creating one or not. Things like roles, routines (rhythms), and family events all contribute to this culture. For example, when daddy or mommy comes home from work, what happens? Do they go to their spouse first, kids second? Are the kids asked how their day was? Do mommy and daddy talk about their day? Do you celebrate accomplishments as a family? Who does the bedtime routine? How do you deal with conflict? What does fun look like?

At the parenting conference Bob and I attended, we were given two ways to intentionally cultivate culture within our home.

One way is to create baseline family values.
Here are some family values they gave as an example:

1. God comes first.
2. Jesus can change everything.
3. We need Jesus' help.
4. Obey authority.
5. Respect mom and dad.
6. Love others as much as I love myself.

Creating family values not only helps identify priorities, it aids in disciplining and training. Usually, when discipline is necessary it's because a value has been broken. For example, if one of your values is to love others as much as I love myself then when someone's not sharing or hits the other, you can let the child know they are not loving their sibling well, which is why they need to be corrected. Or if someone is having a hard time obeying (older children), then we can remind the child that Jesus can change everything, so let's ask him to help us obey (help us change).

Another way to look at your family culture is to break your family dynamic into category's, then assess what happens within each category. Here are some categories and questions they provided.

1. Marriage
What is your marriage saying to your kids?
How are they seeing communication, affection, honor, disagreements?
Do they see you taking time for one another?

2. Environment
What is the ethos of your home?
Do they see you doing things with a purpose, or just when you feel like it?
Do you have fun within your home, or is the fun always happening "out there"?
Do you spend time getting to know each member of your family?

3. Family Rhythms (routines)
Do they see you setting aside time to read the Word or worship?
Do you pray as a family? If there's a need, do you pray as a group or always individually?
How is re-entry into the home after a spouse has been gone all day? Who do they go to first?
Do you de-brief about your day to one another?
Do you have a bedtime routine?
Do you have family nights or traditions?

4. Rest and Sabbath
Am I conditioning my kids to rest?
Do you have a day where everyone gets a break to lounge, be together, have a good meal?

5. Celebration
Do you celebrate your kids? Their accomplishments? If so, is it always with a gift or time?
Do you take time to appreciate each family member?
Do you encourage the kids to celebrate one other?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. This is simply a tool to bring clarity and intentionality to what's already occurring within your home. I don't know about you, but if I don't take time to think through my actions I can float through my day and respond to my children and husband based off whatever mood I'm in. Thinking through my actions, and having clear guidelines has helped with consistency and helped me eliminate unfair treatment towards the kids (though I constantly need Jesus' help, because I mess up often).

I hope you find this helpful!

Post 1 can be found here.
Post 2 can be found here. 

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