Our families exist and our kids are growing up in the midst of some strong and often negative cultures—the Media culture, the Peer culture, the Techno/computer/gadget culture, the Celebrity culture…. If we want our kids to survive and thrive amongst all the noise, we have to create a family culture that is stronger than all of the competing cultures—a family culture with our values and our standards that can supersede all the others!
A family culture involves turning our homes into solid, predictable, lasting institutions that give confidence and identity to its members. Like any institution that is intended to last and to give esteem, a family must have a basic infrastructure of laws, traditions and responsibility-sharing. Putting this infrastructure carefully and solidly in place within a home takes time and effort (like constructing roads and bridges in a city), but once it is built, it saves time and benefits its members every day. We will explore exactly how to create this infrastructure of laws, traditions and responsibility over the next couple of weeks on this blog!
Month by Month Values
One key reason for creating a family culture and infrastructure is to set up an environment where specific values can be effectively taught to your children. The most purposeful and proactive way to teach character to children is to focus on one clear and specific value each month. When an isolated, individual value is concentrated on, opportunities to talk about it will crop up everywhere, from TV shows or movies to what happens at school or work.
Focused, purposeful teaching of one value per month is part of creating a strong family culture that can overcome the world!
As parents work through the sequence of instituting infrastructure and values within their families, they will feel the need to better balance their own personal lives to have the time and energy necessary to devote to their children and homes. Developing that personal life balance will play heavily into this blog series. What comes to mind when you think of balance? A tightrope walker? A juggler? To most people today, the personal application is balancing work and family and personal needs.
Life balance was an easier skill for our parents and grandparents because their lives were simpler; they had fewer balls to juggle. For better or for worse, they (and their children) had fewer options, less pressure, and perhaps lower expectations.
So balance is harder today, but it is possible. Please ignore time-management experts and positive-thinking gurus who tell us we can do it all, have it all, and be it all, because when we take that route, we become tired and stressed, and we sense that what is getting shortchanged is the most important things of all—our families, our relationships and our inner peace.
Prioritizing your family, your marriage and your kids more is what will help most with your life balance.