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Suggestions For Living Well As A Family Unit
© Lee Wise 2003 All rights reserved
Over the years we developed a set of personal guidelines concerning how we wanted to "do the family thing."
Originally, there was nothing in print. That came later when we passed them on to our children. If we knew them by any name at all, it was simply: "this is what is important to us in our home." We are not saying these are the end all regarding how to raise our family. It simply was -- and is -- our best shot. But... I would have to say they have served us well.
OUR PRINCIPLES FOR FAMILY LIVING
A few short introductory notes...
These are in no particular order of importance. When I originally wrote these down to share with our children, I recorded the thoughts as they came to mind. The list is not complete. It was never intended to be. These are "short" by design.
As parents we willingly and without regret choose to sacrifice time, finances, effort and even personal respect in order to raise them in the best way possible. We do this because we are committed to providing for them what is best for their lives.
In our opinion... That's the way things are. That's the way they should be. In short, it is worth it.
"GOD'S WAY IS THE BEST WAY"
That phrase says it all. It is not our way: it is His way that must prevail. We may not understand it. We may not even agree with it. We do, however, choose to live with that understanding and pass it on to our children.
We educate to live -- not just to get grades. There is a bigger picture here, and the bigger picture is termed "all of life." We want to receive a passing grade in life. Good grades are nice, but not why we live. When good grades and quality living clash, we will strive to land on the quality living side of the playing field.
Each member is to be respected as a unique human being. Each member is to show respect to the other members of the family. We may not always be right, but it is always right to show respect to the other person.
THE FAMILY IS A TEAM
We live and operate as a family unit. We are a team here: not a group of independent contractors who happen to live together.
Speech is to be controlled. Speech is to be considerate. We seek to build each other up in our speech patterns. Sure, we joke around. But joking around has its limits. We don't sacrifice feelings on the altar of being the star of the moment.
Privileges are earned. You don't get them just because you exist! You earn them through wise, responsible behavior.
We place a very high priority on having fun. We value laughter... and lots of it :) We promote them both like crazy. In fact, some folks might even accuse us of being just that: crazy!
As individuals, we strive to encourage each other. As family team members, we strive to encourage each other. We work at it!
We work at supporting each other. We give help as needed. We want the other person to "win" at life.
We want our home to be a place of...
A place where each person can say:
"I can be 'me' and be accepted. I can 'spout off' here in an atmosphere of understanding. I can be weird and be silly. I am accepted here."
Children are important persons. I repeat: they are people of importance. They are people with feelings, desires and dreams -- just like "the big people." They are important individuals and
'always' have a right to be heard. We may not be able to accommodate them each time, but it doesn't change the fact that they deserve to be heard. All ages desire to be heard.
WE ARE THE WISE FAMILY -- NOT THE "OTHER" FAMILY
We are distinct. We observe, understand and can learn from other individuals and families. But... "Our choice is our choice." We decide on the basis of:
Who we are...
Our goals as a distinct family unit...
What we think is best... for each child... at each phase of their lives.
We serve the Lord. We try to make our lives count. We live for eternal values.
Standards, guidelines and rules. We have them. The parents set them. Some are non-optional. How we implement our "rules" can be flexible. However, this flexibility is based on two considerations that guide our decision-making process:
1. God's standards
2. How each "flex" effects the individual or the family unit.
Children have a right to know "Why?" Agreement is not always necessary (or even advisable), but understanding is very important to us.
Parents and children need -- and should have -- their time alone.
We want them for our children. We allow and support our children having other adults who influence their lives in positive ways.
We are committed to exposing our children to... Quality people, Quality thinking .
We strive to acknowledge and develop the gifts, talents and abilities of each child. Why? We want each child to be confident and secure in the world. We want them to be confident and secure before the Lord. We want them to be confident and secure around other people.
The goal of raising our children is independent, godly living: We want them to live before the Lord in a successful, meaningful and enjoyable manner. We want them to live with other people in the same way.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
If you had to list your "guidelines for living" as a family unit, what would they be?
List your top three --
That's a good beginning! Could you do more? Should you?
Yours for a day filled with hope in Jesus,
P.S. Go ahead. Name another three. Then you will have six
guidelines you can share with your family and others.
Lee is a seminary administrator, has a part-time business
at home, and writes two motivational ezines: "A Beautiful
Moment In Time" and "Hope For Daily Living."
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