What is your family culture, and how can you change it?
Culture is an interesting concept. Family culture even more so. In all honesty, it's not something I had contemplated much before I began listening to really great family-building podcasts like Donna Otto's Homemakers by Choice and Sarah Mackenzie's Read Aloud Revival, which encourages listeners to build a family culture around books. I had never even considered that I could build a family culture around anything, to be honest!
You can find many different definitions for the word culture, but my favorite is from Merriam-Webster: Culture is “the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education.” In relation to anthropology, culture is basically learned human behavior patterns. Think about that – developing the intellectual and moral faculties of our children by education is a monumental task. Creating an environment in which the learned human behavior patterns glorify God might seem simple in theory, but in reality, this is where “more is caught than taught” comes in to play – and even then, teaching is incredibly necessary component as well.
Once I started to think about creating a family culture that reflects our family's priorities and goals, I quickly came to realize that we already have a family culture. It was begun before my husband and I got married, and as time has passed and children have come along, we have inadvertently already built a family culture centered mainly on ourselves.
Because we were not intentional and purposeful in building our culture around Christ…around loving each other…around gentle speech and joy…around what is pure and lovely…we have built a family culture that is great in some ways (don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for the changes our relationships with Jesus have made in us!), but self-seeking and based on instant gratification in others.
[bctt tweet=”We must purposefully and intentionally create a family culture that honors God and encourages our families to thrive. “]
Realizing that we already HAVE a family culture really opened my eyes. Now, I know that it is not too late to change our family culture, but I know that this process would have been much less painful had we built our family culture correctly in the first place!
Taking an honest, hard look at our family culture, I've realized that we've unintentionally created a family culture that is mostly based on my to-do list. We've built a family culture where “getting things done” comes first, and everything else follows behind when it needs to. Because I haven't been intentional with certain incredibly important things (like loving Jesus first and each other, being respectful, etc), those things are a much smaller part of our family culture than they should be. I'm being incredibly transparent here, and sharing where I've failed, in hopes that you don't make the same mistakes!
I've found that there are very practical ways that we can make big changes in our family. Like an architect, I can seek God's help in purposefully and intentionally creating a family environment primarily focused on our relationships with God and our relationships with each other. For example, we focus more on studying the Bible, and on equipping the kids to resolve disputes and conflicts lovingly. It could mean that we take a full day (or two) every week to set aside tasks and duties and work instead towards soaking up baby and toddler snuggles, playing games, and enjoying each other. It could be working more on being a mom who says “yes” rather than a mom who says no because she doesn't want to deal with potential messes. Conversely, as someone who has always struggled with maintaining a clean house, I also want to build a family culture in which we can truly relax in a clean environment without the stress of being surrounded in clutter and chaos.
Please consider joining me in evaluating the family culture that you've already created (perhaps unintentionally), and purposefully and intentionally create a family culture that honors God and encourages your family to thrive.
” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Download