As I have discovered family culture and what it means to me, I have had the dawning realization that Michael and I have not been as intentional as we have though we were. In our twelve-plus years of marriage, we have been coasting on the ambition and hopes of our parents and societal expectations.
More than that, as we have grown our family, increased our cost of living, multiplied the spiritual and temporal needs of our family, we have often been reacting and bouncing from one issue to the next. This constant anxiety of always putting out fires is exhausting! It has been so hard to get ahead of the problems to try and anticipate what needs to happen.
Certainly, we try to be prepared for emergencies, but in a family where you are always reacting to the issue at hand, every day feels like an emergency!
That’s where family culture comes in – an intentional family culture. It may be part of your family culture to be unprepared, to be late to everything, to fall behind on everything, to have schedules and activities spring up at the last minute! But, with an intentional family culture, we can learn how to anticipate these things and change the way we react to them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”
I have written posts about how important it is to live and act based on faith rather than fear, and I have talked about how important it is to act rather than react all the time. This quote really sums up exactly what I’ve been trying to say!
In an intentional family culture, we don’t allow the day-to-day struggles to push us into action. It’s so exhausting! Instead, we are led by the vision we have for our families to be known for something else. We envision a better life for our children to learn skills like preparedness, punctuality, and perseverance by arranging our lives to model those virtues.
There is so much that can be said about this quote. It can be applied on so many levels! But, as it applies to family culture, it is a mantra to adopt.
Intentional family culture is sitting down with your spouse and discussing how to live for your dreams, your vision, and planning how to be prepared to implement the activities that reinforce your values.
Plan on ways to have regular family meals. Plan out how to introduce your children to their ancestors. Picture ways to teach them about goals. Sacrifice to demonstrate discipline and prudence.
As these things become a practice, one day you will get ahead of the problems and you will begin to realize your dreams. In the meantime, live for those dreams.