You’ve decided that you want to be purposeful in crafting a Family Culture that reflects your beliefs and values. You’ve identified the things that you value and want to communicate to your children above all else. You’ve realized that you need to aggressively curate the life of your family.
But you’re not quite done. All of those things bleeds over into the third question, which is this:
What is the feel of our home?
One afternoon, I had a new acquaintance come by for a visit. I answered the door, and she came in. Now, this was mid-afternoon on a weekday, and we are both homeschooling moms. I’ll never forget what this woman said to me as I took her into my dining room. Looking at three of my kids gathered around an electricity kit at the table, her eyes got wide and she said, “It’s so peaceful here, I thought all of your kids were gone for the day.” When I told her that actually, all of them were home, she was completely surprised. Turns out, she had assumed that a house with a whole lot of children would be chaos pretty much every waking minute. And you know, I guess that’s what a lot of people assume.
One of our core values is the productive use of time. As such, we invest money into hobbies that are useful pursuits, and our time in doing those things; we’ve curated that aspect of our lives, and while we don’t follow the “schedule every minute of the day” approach, we do encourage that those minutes be engaged in something that doesn’t look like rolling around aimlessly on the floor or sitting idly in front of a screen.
As such, while the volume level of our home is never going to be what you’d call “Silent Library,” it’s also very rarely “Monkey Enclosure at Feeding Time.” There’s plenty of singing and laughing and goofing around… but it’s still an environment where peace is both possible and preferred, and being loud for the sake of being loud just isn’t o.k. Why? Because people pursuing a meaningful task are usually not raising the roof (unless, of course, that’s part of the task!). And because a warm, welcoming home where peace reigns and Jesus is glorified is one of our top goals for our family.
Here’s the thing: a whole lot of parents that I talk to are quite simply stressed by their home life. For whatever reason, the overall feeling of being in their space— in the one place, and with the few people designed by God to serve as a respite from the world— as being too something. Maybe it’s too loud, too cluttered, too cold, too centered on trends over substance, or too chaotic, but it’s not the picture of home that they want it to be… and they never quite feel the whole “Home Sweet Home,” that all those cute chalkboard signs are always selling at Hobby Lobby.
But the feel of your home is important. It’s not just the takeaway that guests have as they mull over time spent enjoying your hospitality; the feel of your home is the blanket in which your children will wrap all of their memories. If your home is ruled by tension or completely laid back, they will carry it with them. If it is quick with a comeback or entirely humorless, if it is devoid of joy or centered on celebrating milestones, if it is always ready for guests or completely closed to outsiders, they will carry it with them.
Like faith, Family Culture is both caught and taught. The feel of your home cements the things you say matter by putting them into practice. It creates a sanctuary where those values are lived out. And it offers a safe harbor when the waves of the outside world crash against everything in which you and your family believe.
So take control of it. Just like you need to be aggressive in weeding out the physical things that steal time and space from your values, you also need to be aggressive in creating a space where what you believe in has space to blossom and grow. Kill the distractions. Rearrange the rooms if necessary. Pull the kids’ computers from their bedrooms. Hang Scripture on the wall. Invest in a board game table. Play music to set the mood. Set the stage for the Family Culture you want to take root, and I guarantee you, a change will happen.
I’ve truly enjoyed the feedback I’ve gotten on this series, and welcome your thoughts and experiences. What are your core values, and how have you put them at the center of your Family Culture? What has helped you prioritize your time and resources? How do you want your children to remember the home they are growing up in?