What is a family culture? One definition states, “Family Culture is defined as the aggregate of attitudes, ideas and ideals, and environment, which a person inherits from his/her parents and ancestors.”
My husband and I have been thinking a lot about our family culture. What will our kids look back and remember about these growing up years? I like what Jen Hatmaker said in For the Love:
“Can I tell you my goal for my kids? That their childhood is mostly good. People, I declare ‘mostly good’ a raging success. If I am mostly patient and they are mostly obedient, great. If we are mostly nurturing and they turn out mostly well-adjusted, super. Every childhood needs a portion of lame, boring, aggravating, and tedious. Good grief, life is not a Nickelodeon set…’Mostly good’ is later remembered as ‘loved and safe.'”
Because before I read that yesterday, while my kids played on tablets and we watched football with my in-laws, I could have gotten all worked up. “NO SCREEN TIME!” can be heard coming out of my mouth frequently. But sometimes, you just need a brain chill. I have been praying about our schedule for a few weeks, what is ‘mostly good’ for us now, and what my kids (and I) can handle and not handle.
And Jen let me remember that some of us have spicy families, and some of us are sweet. I longed to be a sweet family. We do study hymns, dangit! But we are loud. We have big feelings. We do thrown together at the last minute. We jump in (chickens). We cry. We laugh. We play games, yet we are highly competitive. Which leads to more tears sometimes :).
But we also worship. We can put on a Planetshakers Youtube video and we are back in Uganda worshiping under a tent (just take out the actual band from that video and imagine beautiful british accents and Ugandans jamming out!). My hubby can play his guitar and my kids know all the words, even if they aren’t 200 year old hymns. I can send them outside to play and not be hovering over them and not feel guilty that I’m not playing with them.
We are teaching our children to work hard. That mommy and daddy have to work hard too and sometimes that involves them entertaining themselves or playing together without us. And sometimes it means getting more school work done, even when you’re tired of it. We are working hard and submitting to the holy spirit and praying big that each of our children will know the Lord intimately. So how do we do that? We try to let them see us living out our faith. This is hard. It was not done for us growing up, not that I didn’t come from a Christian home, but we just didn’t talk about my parent’s faith often. It was private.
We are teaching our kids that if they are diligent, it pays off and they finish their school work earlier than intended. We are letting our kids have lots of free time (thankful for no homework!) and weekends to rest and restore. They like us to all play hide-and-go-seek and tickle monster. Do we play it every time they ask? No. But those are things we try to say yes to!
Do we have it all figured out? No. Never. But we have a God that is sovereign and available and wants us to love well. And we believe that starts at home. If mommy is constantly yelling and daddy is too busy for them, that’s not ‘mostly good.’ As a child, that can feel like you’re an inconvenience. And that is not how anyone should grow up.
I caught myself being frustrated a lot because they were acting like children. Then I’d catch myself: they are children. You know what I am? An adult. I need to be the one making sacrifices. I have 4 children age 3 – 9. They still need me. They will take up much of my day. They are supposed to. We choose to homeschool and that is a full time job. If I need some quiet work time, yes, I can train them to have an hour of quiet time each day but I better be diligent myself for using that time wisely and get off social media. I can also wake up earlier (or work after they are in bed) and get more work done if needed. It’s time to pull up my big girl britches
So what makes up your family culture? Eric and I want to do what we call “Honest Living.” You’ll be hearing much more about that title later as we have some things going on behind the scenes here. But what it boils down to is we want to be honest with our children. We can’t have a deep faith in Jesus and spend day after day frustrated with the actions of others (sometimes that looks like a heart issue). We can’t be selfish and self-seeking constantly and love like he commands. But we can’t also post constantly about our great schedule and our cute kids and not share struggles and real-life. THAT is honest living.
I was reading in 1 John 1-2 today gearing up for a new bible study I’m starting with ladies at my church. It was all so good. But these verses from chapter 2 really stood out to me:
5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
I want to be a keeper of His word. Not just a knower, but a do-er. And I want to live that out so my kids can see what that means. Am I abiding? If so, I ought to be walking in the same way Christ walked. With love, compassion, discipleship. That takes adulting (you’ve seen the meme right). That takes being intentional and honest with myself and my kids.
I think our family culture is made up of many things, but ones that stick out to me is a love of books and music, family meal times, being lovers of God’s word, clutter-free living (we’re getting there), and seeking to serve others. All of this is a work in progress!
So, have you decided on a family culture? Because you have one. Whether you’ve claimed what it is or not. I decided I wanted to work towards a family culture I can look back on and see my kids had it ‘mostly good.’ Because if we aren’t intentional with what we want our family culture to look like, it will definitely become something we’re not happy with. I watched it start to happen and we are taking it back one day, one hour, one minute at a time.
So what are some things you’re struggling with? Some goals you have for your family? Some insights into what has worked from those that are further down the path. We are working on honest living. We are not experts, we do not have it all figured out, but we know that a goal is good and we are working on being more intentional. I hope you check back and hold us accountable. Call us out if we aren’t being honest. Because we all have struggles and if we don’t share those, how can we help others? How can we spur you onto good works? Let’s get honest!
We want to be a family of intentionality and honest living. If we don’t decide now how our family will be, respond, love, we can easily see the culture we are trying to create dissolve, separate and argue. Will you join us in Honest Living?
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