My new church is putting on an excellent series titled “5 Commitments of Extraordinary Families” and I just had to share some of the highlights.
I think the message here is valuable whether or not you are religious. I would be interested to hear your feedback in the comments.
Putting Family First
This seems like such an obvious point that it made me stop and think. If you asked me if family was high on my list of priorities I would say, absolutely – right up there at the top. However, (and I know I’m not alone in this) I am sure that my actions do not always reflect my values. Sometimes my work, my interests and plenty of other distractions (iPhone . . . ahem) get in the way of me spending quality time with my family.
Here are some of the main points that I wanted to share.
We will put family first . . .
1. By training each member to value the family above their own desires
I think this is an important point because our American culture teaches us to value independence, autonomy and the individual above the group. There has to be a balance. Families can fall apart when they don’t know how to consider the needs and wants of the other members.
“Extraordinary families train and require every member to have unselfish behavior.”
Teaching our kids our values happens both directly and indirectly. We model our values in everything we say and do on a daily basis. What our children learn indirectly by our actions and example can be reinforced by direct teaching and sharing. My question for myself this week is, “Am I modeling and teaching my kids unselfish behavior?”
2. By valuing family time above other activities
The primary functions of parents can be summarized in two words: bond & train. We work on building loving, secure and trusting relationships with our kids. This is the foundation for training and teaching them, which is the primary goal of any discipline. Rules without relationship can never effectively change behavior and it certainly is not fun.
There is a difference between family activities and family time. Going to the movies or a soccer game does not necessarily qualify as quality time. It can be easy to believe that our families are healthy and happy because we “do” a lot of things together. Is there a quality of connection and interaction taking place? (Again a question for myself).
Part of the challenge that I am taking up this week is to eat at least 3 meals around the family table with everyone present and all electronic devices shut off. If you know me you know that the electronic device ban is the hardest part. So far so good, today we had breakfast and dinner together and it was good family time.
I appreciated hearing this message this week and the reminder to intentionally build an extraordinary family. It takes hard work, love and sacrifice, but the end result can be beautiful.