My son came home with an assignment from school to create a presentation on his family culture. Little did I know that this project would turn into a great opportunity for reflection for me on how we are spending our time as a family and what is most important to us. It’s an exercise I would suggest that all families do from time to time and could be done as a family with older kids or just as parents. It was something I did one-on-one with my 11 year old and then spent some additional time reflecting on by myself. He simply had to do a presentation on what “is”, but I spent time comparing what “is” with what I really want it to be.
Step 1: Determine Your Family Culture
- The knowledge, values and customs of your family, things that are passed on from one generation to the next. The things that are important to your family such as church, music, work ethic, service, sports, education, outdoor activities, etc.
Step 2: Determine Your Cultural Traits
- The activities and daily life of your family. What does your family spend time doing? What are your daily/weekly habits or rituals?
Step 3: Time to compare & make adjustments
- Do you spend a lot of time during your day/week on something that isn’t really important to your family culture? Do you have something that is important to you to be part of your family culture that you don’t spend a lot of time on?
- One of the things I want to be part of our family culture is service. We do service activities from time to time, but I realized that if I really want to pass on to my kids a value of service in their lives that we need to spend more time on that in our family.
- As I looked at the way we spend our time, I realized that I needed to add “work ethic” to our family culture. It is an area that we spend time working on and I feel is important, but when first thinking of family culture it just didn’t occur to me. So, steps 1 & 2 go hand in hand and as you look at each of those topics, they will help you to fill in what might be missing in the other topic.
- As I realized that music was part of our family culture, it lined up with our cultural traits because we spend time in music lessons and practicing. But it also opened me up to thoughts of how we could be even more intentional with using music in our family.
Taking a fresh look at your family culture is a great way to start the new year, but can be done anytime and really should be looked at on a regular basis. Because if your values are in one place but you spend all your time on other things, it’s going to be hard to pass those values on to your kids and have them find the same importance in them.