The family unit has been under attack well, since the dawn of man’s existence. So what do we do to help families thrive in a world that seems set to see them fail? Follow these ten rules, and I believe you will be on your way to building a thriving family unit.
- Ethos is created on purpose not by accident
Ethos is “the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.” Your beliefs and aspirations as a family will determine the culture you create in your home.
Don’t let society, media, or outside forces determine your family’s ethos. Create it on purpose in accordance with your aspirations and beliefs. If God is the central driving force for your family, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the highest possible good for your home, and then make it a reality.
- Envision the future you want for your family
What do you want your family to look like in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years? Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.”
The seeds you plant today become the fruit your family bears tomorrow. Spend some time in prayer, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a vision for your family.
Cast a vision based on your principles, and the ethos you are creating in your home. Write it down as a family mission statement. Print it out. Hang up where you can see it on a regular basis.
- Evaluate your principles
Your principles are your fundamental truths that serve as the foundation for your belief and actions. Your principles are what manifest the ethos in your home.
What’s important to you? What are your nonnegotiables? What is the driving force behind your decisions and actions? No one can decide these for you. You must decide for yourself what your fundamental truths for belief and action are.
- Examine your motives
Your motive is the engine behind your principles. It’s what determines the way you live out those principles. Do you just want your kids to grow up and have a good job so they can have a nice house? Or do you desire something more for them? Every motive for the believer should be to point to Christ and bring honor to Him in every aspect of life.
- Execute on your priorities
There’s a saying, “What’s important gets scheduled.” If family time, date night with your spouse, honoring the Lord, or being debt free are priorities to you, execution is a must.
Your spouse won’t remember you talking about date night being important; they will remember the date nights. Your kids won’t remember you talking about family time; they will remember the times you played and spent time together.
Talk is cheap, but execution is priceless. Execute on your priorities as a family based on your principles to attain the ethos you desire to create in your home.
- Express your cares, desires and struggles
As a family it is important that you understand the cares, desires, and struggles that you each have. Your cares are those things that are important to you. As each of you grows and evolves your cares will change. Express those to each other.
The desires of your heart are the dreams you have for your self, your family, and your story. Express those desires and share those dreams.
We each have struggles, and unless we share them we will be doomed to suffer them alone. Cares, desires, and struggles are best expressed and endured through community, and what greater community than a thriving family.
Are all families thriving? By no means, but you can journey towards becoming one by being open, honest, and supportive as you each express those cares, desires, and struggles.
- Everyone plays a role
Paul gives us the prime example of everyone playing an important role in 1 Corinthians 12:12 “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
Every member of your family unit is important. A thriving family recognizes the significance of each person’s role in contributing to the vision of the family as a whole. Just as you cannot chop off a foot, or pluck out an eye and expect to be whole, neither can you diminish the role of a member and expect your family to thrive.
- Every voice matters
Expounding on the last two E’s of expressing your cares, desires, and struggles, and everyone playing a role, it’s also important that each member is able to express their voice. Every voice adds a level of insight and edification to the family unit.
One of the difficult things for many families is not shutting out the voices that don’t jive with the majority. Voices that the contradict our particular way of thinking cause us to:
- expand our thinking,
- consider another persons point of view, and
- it challenges us to fully comprehend what we believe ourselves.
Allow every voice in your family to express cares, desires, and struggles, as well as contribute to the whole of the family unit.
- Exemplify love in everything you do
In 1 Corinthians 13, commonly called the “love chapter,” Paul gives us three important lessons on love that we can apply here. First, He tells us you can do or say the nicest things, but if you don’t have love, you’re nothing at all or clanging a gong. Next, he helps us understand exactly what love is:
- Not Jealous
- Does not brag
- Is not arrogant
- Does not act unbecomingly
- Does not seek its own
- It’s not provoked
- Does not take account wrongs suffered
- Does not rejoice in unrighteousness
- Rejoices with truth
- Bears all things
- Believes all things
- Hopes all things and
- Endures all things
Exemplify these things to each member of your family. Third, Paul says that out of faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love. Love is the only one you can express to others. Examine your motives and ensure that you are exemplifying love to one another in order to produce a thriving family. Let your motive for everything be love.
- Expect the best
A farmer does not plant his crop only to expect a hailstorm, disease, or pestilence; rather he plants and expects the best. He expects to reap a harvest. Thriving families expect the best from each other, and expect the best outcome possible for their family.
They may face “hailstorms,” disease, or pests in life, but they still expect the best. This is love exemplified. It is hoping and believing for the best. You may not see it, but you still expect the best and you fight for it.
Expecting the best is envisioning your future, living by your principles, creating the ethos to foster that result, and believing it will come to pass.
Thriving families don’t happen by accident, but when you are intentional about fostering an environment that causes your family to thrive, you will break the mold of brokenness and mediocrity.
Which of these can you start implementing today to change your family’s tomorrow?
What are some E’s you would add that make thriving families?
Share them below.