I recently started a podcast club with some girls where we meet weekly to chat about the podcast of the week, about life and sip yummy warm drinks.This week was our first week and the podcast was on family culture (episode 6 of Cultivating Lovely podcast). Listening to it sparked my interest and so I went digging to read some more about what some experienced and well seasoned parents have to say about cultivating a family culture. I love the fact that each family brings it’s own uniqueness to the table. It’s fun to visit different homes and experience other family’s “cultures” isn’t it? Kids or not, I bet you have a culture.
Any article that I read or podcast that I listened to said how much influence we have on our family members and how what we do and how we live has a huge part to play in shaping the hearts and lives of not only our children but each other. Makes sense right? Well then why Have I not been thinking about this more I ask myself…
This year has been so great. I have taken a year off on maternity leave with our baby girl. It’s been a whirlwind learning to fit everything in, prioritizing and making sure I get everything done. There have been days where I wondered if I would ever feel rested and if I would get a shower before 7pm. This year has totally been about birthing the mother inside me, adapting to being 3 and not 2, learning to lay my selfishness down and so much more. Recently I am feeling like I have a better handle on things and am being intentional to take time to read and write and do things that I enjoy doing. It’s been in this time that I have been reminded of all of this family culture goodness.
I got hung up on a a couple verses in Proverbs this week that said a wise woman builds her house and carefully watches over everything in her home and family. This leads me to believe that God intended for us to be intentional about how we do things and how we parent. We are a younger new family with a 1 year old. I can’t say that we have ever sat down and said these are the things that we want to see happening in our home until now. I say lets not just wing it and hope for the best. If I value my family I will stop and consider how we are impacting our children and the example that we are setting. It has been really good for me to stop and consider what we value and how those things are seen in our day to day living. I think if we value our own well being as well we will organize and be proactive with our daily responsibilities so that no one suffers and our days are organized.
Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to help us move ahead. How do our children see us spending our time? What do we show each other that we value? How can we love each other more and be more intentional in both marriage/relationship and with our children if we have them. While I do have some things that shape my own family culture (ie. traditions, community, creativity & thoughtfulness) there are definitely things that I would love to be more intentional about (fostering an environment of order, encouragement, gratitude, compassion, giving, fun & laughter and last but not least I need to be intentional about taking time for myself to get lost in the other thing she I love). The fun part is getting creative and thinking of ways to see these things roll out..
For encouragement, I would like to verbalize at least once a day something that I see in my husband/daughter/friendships that is beautiful and awesome. Something that lifts their spirit and lets them know that hey I recognize this about you and it is awesome. This is part of building my family up.
For gratitude I would like to be intentional about thanking God and others more verbally. I believe that this helps us shift our thoughts to be thankful for what we do have and helps us to not focus on everything we would like to have or everything that has gone wrong. We want to be grateful.
For compassion and giving I would like to talk more about the things going on around us and be intentional about loving others well in practical ways. We can help people by listening, caring, making a meal and giving in all sorts of ways. This is loving people. I need to love better outside of my bubble!
For fun and laughter I have just realized how sometimes the things that can tend to burden us can sometimes weigh us down. My husband and I usually wear everything on our sleeve and I know that it at times impacts the environment of our home and our relationships. I would love to make every effort to live out being thankful and trusting so that God can help us share joy and offer a light hearted spirit in our home. That we will not parent from a place of hurt or brokenness. I want us to be real but I want us to find joy even in the midst of harder times. Some intentional things that we can do are play music, dance together, joke around, play games, etc. Heaviness is a difficult atmosphere to live in.
Some of the things we already feel we do well in are finding time every week to spend time as a family. We love nature so when we can we find ourselves outside doing outdoor activities like skating, snow showing, walking, running, hiking, camping, snowboarding, biking.
We love creativity. We try to apply this in all aspects of life no matter what we are doing. My husband is the master creative mind around here so he is a major source of inspiration to me. He encourages me to get creative just by being who he is. I like to try to encourage others to get creative too. This blog will hopefully be a source for that as well as my ladies nights for all things creative.
We have a few traditions now. The 1st year we were married we decided to really put thought into each family member and make something for them with our own hands at Christmas. We look forward to this every year and have a great time doing it. We work on things alone, together and with friends. Some other traditions that we have started are pancake birthday breakfasts and annual birthday letters for our child. Also when I can I want to take off the day of Amelia’s birthday each year to spend with her. These are special things that she will remember and look forward to I hope.
I believe that God created women with a special ability to keep things in order. It is often that we see the mothers and grandmothers as being the “glue” that holds the family together. They take the initiative on planning family gatherings, they show how much they value family. This isn’t to say that men don’t but it is just something that women tend to have in us naturally for the most part. We enjoy planning. We enjoy gathering and togetherness. We enjoy family time and the chaos of all the kids running and playing and enjoying life and each other. This is why I thought this is a great podcast to start with my group of ladies. What an opportunity we have as mothers and wives and friends to enrich the lives of those around us. We should know that we are not perfect, we will disappoint ourselves and others and fall short but we can have goals and aim to love well through intentional culture.
How do you do family? I would love to hear all your fun and crazy traditions and anything else you want to share.