We tend to create grand stories in our heads about the perfect family, the perfect home and the perfectly performed traditions. Don’t we? Yet often the reality is usually not quite the same, is it? But does that mean that we should give up? Should we not even try to create a lifegiving home or fun family traditions because they won’t play out exactly how we think they will?
What if you find that something you are trying to force into being a tradition isn’t one that everyone is enjoying? If it’s too much work, you dread it and your family barely likes it then yes, do give it up while you try something new. It doesn’t make you a failure. Traditions change as our season’s in life change. But our family needs us to create those strong ties that make your family unique and special.
Every family has a distinct flavor that governs how it operates in the world. LGH p. 171
- Set goals. That’s right, goal setting for your family. What do you want your children to remember? What character traits do you want to instill in your child and how will you go about doing so. For example, if you want to raise kind, generous kids then set that goal and remind yourself of it often.
- Create a family mission statement. Take your goals and shape them into an empowering mission statement, print it out, pray over it and remind yourself of it. When a planned family day ends up messed up from the rain, don’t quit, just reschedule!
- Make a plan. Once you know what you want your family culture to look like, once you know your parenting goals and have a mission statement that encourages you to keep going, make a set time in your yearly scheduling to make everything happen. If you aren’t intentionally putting your thoughts down they won’t happen. Good intentions are not enough here. You have to make a plan.
- Rinse and repeat your plan each year, creating that culture and traditions that will be shaping your children’s childhood.
I love the story of the memory stones in the August chapter of The Lifegiving Home. Sally and her husband decided that they wanted their children to take time to step away from the hustle and bustle of life and intentionally focus on everything that the Lord had done for them that year. They took a whole weekend to celebrate God’s goodness. They took the time to reminisce about how God intervened in all of their lives individually and then as a family.
As her children aged, the tradition adapted. They used to collect memory stone and write on them, then they switched to drawing stones and now as adults they just write a simple list. You see, it doesn’t always have be the same year in and year out but the pillar thought is always there, the character of thankfulness was kept as their children grow up. Each year, they called this day of remembrance Family Day. Each year, even as adults, they still get together one weekend out of the year to have this family day tradition.
The stronger and more vibrant a family culture, the more others will be attracted to it. LGH p. 175
What can you start this year to create this bond with your family? What is the most central parenting goal that you have? How can you interweave that into a Family Day tradition? Here are some ideas I quickly came up:
- Service – work in a food cupboard for a meal, visit a nursing home, complete a task for the church, clean up a park
- Kindness – print out a random act of kindness activity sheet and spend a day completing it
- Generosity – bake cookies and deliver them to others, bring a new church member a meal, donate diapers to a local shelter, buy a family in meal groceries, make get well or thinking of you cards for a person in need
- Gratitude – a family day during which you take time to make your gratitude list, create a gratitude journal for the family to use, make a gratitude vase filled with stones throughout the year
Every day, every week, every month, and every year when we practice notiving what God is diong in our lives and look back intentionally to remind ourselves, we are allowing God to shape us into beautiful and stunning tributes to His faithful work. LGH p. 168
There are so many things you can do if you have the will to do them. Once you complete whatever it is you choose, celebrate as a family and share on how it impacted everyone! Doing anything like this goes against the worldly culture that screams so loudly in our ears. That is why it is hard to make happen. But all good things are worth fighting for. You are leaving a legacy of faith for your children, a lifetime filled with great memories. Don’t let the picture perfect movie in your head hold you back.
What are you going to start this year?!
- Read the August chapter.
- Plan your unique Family Day! Plan it and write in pen on your calendar.
- Buy or create a family gratitude journal. (Crystal Paine’s family has created some great resources for this! You can get yourself a journal, one for each child, and even one designed for men!)
There is still time to enter this week’s giveaway!
Your turn! What are you going to plan today as you create your family’s story? Let’s share ideas in the comments below!
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