Hey, World—Family is NOT an Afterthought!
In fact… Family should be regarded as the source of incredible goodness in our lives. It’s not just an important thing—in many ways, it’s everything.
Is it only me or does the world have the idea of family a bit topsy-turvy? Family is not perceived as nature’s masterpiece, but an endless burden, a thing to endure and suffer. If we look at popular sit-coms and movies, family is a torturous life sentence to be mocked and derided. Kids don’t respect their parents' authority.
In gentler portrayals, moms and dads are well-meaning buffoons that the children tolerate and easily outsmart. Husbands and wives aren’t a team, but competitors seeking an edge. Don’t even get me started on how dads are represented—either harsh and unfeeling, or lovably dim and weak.
The family is both the fundamental unit of society as well as the root of culture. It is a perpetual source of encouragement, advocacy, assurance, and emotional refueling that empowers a child to venture with confidence into the greater world and to become all that he can be.
~Dr. Marianne E. Neifert (renowned pediatrician, speaker, & author)
Don’t mistake me. Families are not ever going to be perfect. There is certainly some truth to the stereotypes about dysfunction and discord.
Family, we may not have it all together, but together, we have it all. ~Unknown
A thriving family doesn’t mean everything is just right, or that we're all on the same page all. the. time. However, when very different people (different temperaments, ages, personalities, strengths, weaknesses) come together as a loving unit in all their profound uniqueness, something amazing happens—a harmony that becomes its own force. The love that comes from that motley togetherness produces energy & momentum, which provides greater purpose and meaning. Everyone is empowered to be their best self!
I love the story of the 1980’s U.S. Olympic hockey team. They were a bunch of rag tag players who had their own personal problems—some were considered washed up, others were overlooked newbies, and then there were all-stars who weren’t team players. Not a promising start. But when they became unified in a cause, they went from underdogs to heroic gold medalists who took down the world champion Soviets. The movie of the real-life event is appropriately named, “Miracle on Ice.”
Family is the safest, most successful, NASA approved launchpad to the big world, which is—let’s face it, a lot like outer space. Can we all agree, when we put family unity foremost above all other worldly demands: career, school, culture, success, peers, sickness, worries, it becomes the source of stability and empowerment that we require to face the world with level-headedness? That’s our mission as moms and dads!
But how does a family who is already doing their darnedest—get there?
By fostering relationships each day. Strong friendships don’t happen instantly, they take some time and effort. By making it our daily intention to live more character strengths like respect, generosity, self-control, we fortify familial connection. That’s when the miracle happens. Consider implementing some of these simple tips to build up your wonderful miraculous family today!
5 Practical Tips Build Family Relationships:
Strive For and Model a Family First Philosophy
Speak it, write it, and post it on the walls of your home...and live it. Every person in your family (even those outside of it) should know that family is the priority for "the Joneses". The first question everyone should ask themselves when making a big choice—What does my family think? One of our core tools for building strength of character is the Family Huddle which gives everyone a weekly opportunity to regroup and recharge. Of course, if you can swing more family gatherings in the week (meals, outings, walks, prayer time) you go! But strive for at least once a week to meet and be present to each other.
Be More Affectionate
Physical touch is powerful. Be more generous with hugs and affection today. It is scientifically proven to help. Busyness can get in the way. Don’t let it. Make time to shower your spouse and children in physical affection regularly.
Strive to Stay Positive & Patient
Easier said than done, but by infusing kindness into our daily goals, we help build unity rather than create barriers to good communication. Build some breathing space into your schedules so you’re not in such a rush. And take your time before disciplining your children. It’s infinitely more effective if it’s done in a way that is loving and positive.
Institute Family Rituals/ Traditions
You don’t have to become the royal family, but there’s a reason they are the focus of such fascination and reverence. They have traditions that show the world that their family is important. Ritualize those ideals into your days, weeks and years. On Fridays we always… When we come home each day we… Make holidays special by instituting certain routines. We open gifts on Christmas morning, go to church, and take a nature walk. It shouldn’t be elaborate. This isn’t about making life more difficult, but it’s about giving the family a game plan so they feel an integral part of the unified magic.
Disconnect from Devices More Often
The world wants IN to your happy family dynamic. Create the necessary safe boundaries. Make it a policy to dock electronics when home, or institute electronic times. But family time should always be longer and more regular. Explain to the kids why this is so important. When we speak these things and begin to do them they signal to our brains that family is more important. It becomes filed under “fact.”
Hungry for more practical tips to more easily navigate your family to a brighter future? Our subscription box series, Adventure into Character is your ticket to an exciting journey. Every other month a character kit arrives at your doorstep. You set your family’s pace and choose the adventure you’ll take. Kids engage in fun activities and daily prompts designed to cut down on screen time while building important character strengths, like orderliness, gratitude, respect. What are you waiting for? You’ve already got what it takes to become a family of character—more laughter, love, pitching-in and a whole lot more togetherness!Tell Me More About Adventure into Character
If you have an issue you’d like our help with, drop us a line at Hello@FamiliesofCharacter.com. If you’re experiencing a problem, chances are thousands of other families are in the same boat. We’re ALL in this parenting boat together!
Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.