If you’re like me and other families I’ve been around as a Youth Pastor, there are times that the pace of life gets very hectic. Where the activities we are a part of dominate our lives, and it takes every ounce of energy to just keep up. That also includes the various church events we are a part of.
Whether you like it or not, the decisions we make and the activities we do or don’t do as a family (and as parents) impacts the culture of our home. Our pace of life and the activities or events we say yes to and say no to communicates to our spouses and children what is important to us.
Many of the things we are communicating to our families by our activities are not what we actually believe in our minds. Unfortunately, the things we believe in our minds rarely are reflected in the way we live our lives. Which means that we really don’t believe what we say we believe.
What we do is the most accurate reflection of what we believe.
For example, let’s say you move heaven and earth to get your kids to their sports practices, but when it comes to Youth Group or Church you are less motivated to get them and yourselves there.
What does that communicate to your family? Going to youth group and Church is less important than school and sports.
I’m not saying that sports are not important, because I love sports and played baseball through High School and into college. I’m also not saying that you would actually say, ‘Sports are more important than Church’ (unless you’re an atheist), but I am saying that our level of emphasis on certain activities communicates to our family that we believe XYZ is more important than ABC.
Another example: Let’s say its November, and you are aware of some great experiences coming up in 3-6 months for your wife, husband, or children. Maybe it’s a conference or a retreat. Christmas is coming up and your family has grown accustomed to receiving expensive gifts. So you buy a bunch of expensive gifts and they really enjoy them.
However, those gifts will mess up and your budget and ultimately come at the cost of going on those other great opportunities.
What does that communicate to your family? Material possessions are better than personal/emotional/spiritual development.
Those examples are some of the bigger issues we might face during the year, but there are other smaller decisions we make that have equally impactful results:
What do you do when you had a very stressful day? When you come home do you spend hours in front of the TV, or pour a glass of wine? Do you make it a point to sit with scripture long enough to let it change you? Do you make time for solitude before God?
What we do on a day to day basis will impact what we are likely to do when the larger decisions need to be made.
What we do and say impacts the culture of our home, and the culture of our homes will disciple our children in one way or another.
Proverbs 22:6 says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.’ Children are trained by what they see and hear in tandem. They are wonderful impersonators.
When thinking back on my childhood and who I am now, I’ve found that there are times when I do or say things my parents did and said to me, but it’s usually not because it was a lesson they were trying to teach me. The things I unknowingly copy I picked up from the culture they created.
My parents were training me through the culture they created in the home.
What kind of culture do you want in your home?
Here are 5 questions to consider when forming the new culture of your home:
1) What is most important to us as parents?
2) What is least important to us as parents?
3) What is important to our spouse and/or children?
4) What is our family mission?
5) How can we eliminate the least important activities to elevate the most important activities?
My wife and I are on a journey to be more intentional about the culture of our home. We would love for you to join us. If you have any other questions or thoughts about how to create and maintain the culture we want in our homes, please comment below.