I want to talk to you about creating a family culture in your family. It is something I am working on in my own family.
What is a family culture?
A family culture encompasses everything that makes your family’s identity. This seems silly but imagine your family is a character in a story you are writing. Where did it come from? What does it believe in? What are its favorite past times? Favorite foods? What about political issues? What does it stand up for or against? What kind of personality does it have?
If you look around at families you know you might be able to see their personalities or culture. If not, try TV. There is always that super religious family. Or that family who is all about sports and competition. If you have ever seen Cheaper By the Dozen 2 you can see it really clearly. (Not a favorite just really clear example) Two very different families competing. You can see the difference in how they raise their kids and their morals stand out.
The Art of Manliness (fantastic website) says that a family culture is made up of three principles. Values, Traditions, and Norms. I will discuss each of them in individual posts but if you can’t wait you can check out what The Art of Manliness has to say HERE.
Why should I build one?
For me I like the sense of identity that it will give my son. That is especially important as a single parent. Even more so as a single mom raising a boy. Men and boys need a tribe. It should be yours.
The other reason is that they say that a healthy family culture is more important than parenting styles. Which is awesome because I don’t even know what my parenting style is! That leads me to my next point…
(Family culture) goes beyond parenting styles “to tell the complex story of parents’ habits, dispositions, hopes, fears, assumptions and expectations for their children.
– U.Va. Study Identifies Four Family Cultures in America November 15, 2012 H. Brevy Cannon
The norms and values part of the equation will make it so you and everyone in your family have the same set of rules and standards. When your kid breaks a rule it always means the same thing…and everyone knows it.
Sounds complicated. How do I create a family culture?
Actually, it’s really not. It’s surprisingly fun!
One way to get started is to pretend your family is a secret club. Sit down as a family and create a set of “club” rules and bylaws or a family mission statement. Then the fun part!
You could come up with secret handshakes or a family cheer. Plan field trips. Have family movie nights. Game nights. Just pick a time and make it special. From now on every fourth Friday is Taco night. The first Monday of the month shall henceforth be called (drumroll please) Meatloaf Monday. Whatever you want. Just anything to make it special. Our family has a Saturday Family Breakfast.
You could get a container and put strips of paper with ideas in it. Everyone takes turn drawing one. Susie gets to pick what you will have for the main course, Tommy picks the dessert, Hubby picks the beverage etc. Give yourself time to plan ahead and shop.
Research your family heritage together. Discover your coat of arms or make up your own. Discover cultural food and traditions.
Another thing you can do that is really simple and fun is creating love rituals. (Read my post my post on that for more.)
Stay tuned for more on the subject soon.
So tell me about your families. What do you do that makes your family unique?