Most of my time as a mom seems to be spent going against the grain.
Making sure I do everything differently than my parents did.
Finding my groove.
Defining my marriage and being a good example of a wife to my kids (and failing fantastically!).
How Do I Create a Healthy Family Culture?
I realize that every experience, every word, every tradition, every event, every occasion…makes memories for my kids.
And those memories? Do I want them to reminisce and feel anxious and need therapy? Or do I want them to get warm fuzzies when they look back on this event or tradition?
Do I want them to desire to replicate or reject their past?
What are my priorities as a mom?
What do I want my kids to remember?
What is important in our lives?
I have goals I want my kids to achieve and I have to hold everything up against those standards to make sure they measure up. I work backwards from those goals, constantly reevaluating and changing to match those values.
Nerd is the new sexy. When I was a teen, it just wasn’t. I’m so thrilled that being smart is cool and my kids are proud to be geeky.
I love that the kids make Doctor Who references for everything. Alex is becoming obsessed with Star Wars. Liz understands the merits of Star Trek and appreciates Sherlock. The kids love classic sci-fi stories.
Conversation always revolves around superheroes and Jesus.
I love how we can relate all these fictional characters to history and the Bible. There’s always a Christ figure in comics and sci-fi. There’s always good vs. evil. And the good guy always wins.
Math and science are super important to our family, and even though they were my least favorite and worst subjects in school, I love learning right along with my kids now. With my husband’s help, I make these a priority in our homeschool. I ensure my girls won’t become statistics in a classroom environment. They can learn STEM subjects safely at home and soar as high as they want.
The only problem? My kids often find it difficult to make friends in their peer groups. It’s sometimes hard to find other kids who are interested and knowledgeable about these topics.
Bible Time is Important.
The kids love to listen to and read the Bible and do Bible studies.
I didn’t grow up with any religious education and we didn’t attend church, so I want to make sure I don’t fail my family in this area. We try to attend church often and we make sure to have open discussion at home about our worldview. And I provide many opportunities for Bible study – all sorts of tools and apps to help us learn about God and His creation.
We all read Bible in the morning. We include biblical curriculum in our daily school lessons. We’ve recently added this app PrayNow to our nightly reading repertoire.
Alex especially gets upset if anything disrupts Bible time. He reminds me every morning and evening that it’s time to read Bible.
So, I’m doing something right!
We Love Books.
We have five overflowing bookcases (I wish we had room for more!) and we max out the family library account each and every week. All of my kids love reading and listening to read alouds. Even Dad likes to hear the stories at bedtime!
Our house is built on books. I’ve always read to my babies and we make sure we incorporate reading, writing, and language study in all our subjects.
Reading opens so many doors to learning and I am so grateful that my kids love to learn. The kids and I all prefer books to screen-time. But I do utilize the Kindle app on all our iPad minis for school and pleasure reading.
Words are so important and I am so grateful that I can share my love of language with my kids.
I Want to Leave a Legacy of Health.
Cooking and eating together is our way of life. The kids love to help in the kitchen and we revel in creating delicious, healthy real food. We seldom dine out because it’s cheaper, healthier, less stressful, and tastier to eat at home.
We save money by eating our meals at home. We have achieved greater health by eating real food at home. We don’t have official snack times because it’s ok and normal to get hungry between meal times. I do keep yogurt, cheese, nuts, fruits, and veggies in stock that the kids know they can eat if they ate an early breakfast or if dinner will be later than usual.
Our kids seldom ask to eat out as a treat since they understand that is not our standard.
When we do eat out, it’s so much more special. Our kids have impeccable manners (which we achieved with a lot of consistent training). I am never embarrassed to take them anywhere. The quality of food in European restaurants is so much more superior to that of American food. But I know the limits of my kids. They don’t desire a two-hour dining experience. I have small, quiet toys in my purse they know are only for those times.
We do plan ahead if we’re going out since there are no real fast food places or drive-thrus. It can be inconvenient at times. We usually eat before we leave or make sure we’re home by mealtime. I marinate meats in the evening or morning for dinners or use my slow cooker. Often, I pack snacks or a picnic if we’re going on a field trip (or in case of emergency). And we always bring water bottles with us.
The kids know the medicine cabinet contains vitamin and mineral supplements, tinctures, herbal remedies, and essential oils instead of the typical products we used to have. I’m training them that there’s a better way. They can heal with food, exercise, fresh air – proper methods of living instead of bandaging symptoms. See our daily routine.
I often wonder what some families do for standards.
If they don’t follow Jesus, what moral compass do they have to teach to their children? Where do they draw the line? What do they consider right and wrong?
I struggled with these issues growing up. I didn’t have a good moral compass and nothing to measure anything by.
As our children get older and have more freedom to attend lessons and extracurricular activities with a variety of people from different backgrounds, this question comes up more often.
If I don’t have a solid foundation to stand on to show my children, then we are more likely to falter. If I don’t have firm goals, better priorities, and strong values, then I can’t teach my children what to work toward and why.
I want my children to understand what we believe and why and how they can achieve their personal goals within that worldview.
I demand respect from my kids. But I must also give them respect.