Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. —Francis of Assisi
Recently, I shared a blog piece to Facebook. It wasn’t anything I had written, and honestly, the topic doesn’t matter. In the course of the ensuing discussion, however, an interesting (to me) theme developed that was finally succinctly summed up in a single phrase by a friend— the cult of family.
The idea, as I began to understand it, is that it’s a bad thing to be too family centered. (I’m not entirely sure who gets to define “too family centered.”) Apparently, large families are among the worst offenders. I’m guessing that the whole idea springs from the abuses of the Quiverfull movement, which are many, but I truly can’t be sure.
Links may direct to affiliate sites. Purchases made through these links support our family’s work in spreading the Gospel to unreached areas.
Every once in a while, someone says something so profound within earshot that your soul can’t help but nod in agreement, highlighting the words, drawing your attention to the truth with an intellectual vigor akin to being grabbed by the cheeks, forced to gaze into serious eyes and demanding, “Are you listening?” I had this experience recently at the Charlotte Mason Institute East National Conference, where Dick Keyes of L’Abri Fellowship spoke on the importance of giving our children a deep well of hero culture from which to drink.
We are living, right now, this moment, in a brave new world. No, it’s not the literary nightmare Huxley imagined in 1932. It’s a different kind of new world; an ongoing experiment for which we’ve all complicity signed on. If a scientist were to sit down and formulate a hypothesis, this starting point for his wonderings would be this:
What is the outcome when parents are physically present but chronically distracted, engaged elsewhere for large portions of the day and unable/unwilling to participate in what was once considered normal family life?
I recently stopped to watch my 17-year-old and 15-year-old sons strip apart some bikes to fix brake and sprocket issues.
Ball bearings were rolling across the floor as one leaned down to grab them. And later, inside, the other told me how some of the work had to be redone because, well, when they had finished, there were a few extra parts that shouldn’t have been extra. Continue reading
I know we’re different.
Just like you, I’ve seen the reactions, heard the mutters and gasps and whispers. I’ve watched you carefully steer conversation from risqué topics in groups, and I know that you’ve demurred, more than once, on a movie night with friends that ran afoul of our standards. I’ve seen you avert your eyes in public spaces, pass on offers of trendy free reads, and admit to your peers that no, you’ve never played that video game… or any video game without Mario involved, actually.
One of the unexpected blessings of family photo accounts is that you never quite know what you might get when you open your app. Over the years, I’ve been met with myriad shots of interesting insects, countless selfies, and more than a few videos of kids riding, scooting, crawling, jumping, dancing, or otherwise doing something deemed noteworthy by some random family member. It’s fun, usually, to see snippets of daily life I missed right here under my roof through the eyes of my husband or kids.
Some day, I will eat a hot meal.
Some day, no one will bang on the bathroom door.
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.
We’re on day three of a series examining how parents can overcome the pull of society’s default and be intentional in the cultivation of their own Family Culture. Psychology Today defines Family Culture as “the unique way that a family forms itself in terms of rules, roles, habits, activities, beliefs, and other areas.” Earlier, we looked at how identifying your family’s core values starts you on the path of reclaiming control of the message you send to your children.