Every family is different, and every family has things that make them unique from all others, because we all have a different family culture that makes us who we are.
But regardless of what makes your family’s culture different from anyone else’s, here are 7 small, yet important things that every family should strive to make a part of the culture in their home.
Let’s not take for granted that all Christian families do these things, although I believe that they should. Evaluate yourself, how many of these things are a part of your family’s culture?
1. Prayer Before Meals
In our fast-paced, eat-on-the run society, not only are families eating less and less together at the dinner table, prayer before meals is taking a backseat as well. Families who eat less together naturally pray less together. And before you know it, us and our kids are scarfing down our food in life’s fast lane without even taking the time to acknowledge Who and where it’s come from. And honestly, we’re the ones to blame for allowing it to happen. Let’s not let the crazy speed of life steal the spiritual culture of prayer from the next generation.
2. Family Prayer and Devotions
In addition to prayer for meals, families regularly need time to spend gathered around the word of God and in prayer together. Mom and Dad are to be the primary spiritual influencers in their home (not the church, not the pastor, not the children’s or youth pastor, but the parents). Do you have any times scheduled into your family culture (apart from meals) to pray together and talk about the truths of God’s Word?
3. Hugs Before Bed
Physical family affection is a wonderful tool to share and reassure your family’s love for one another. A great way to “share the love” is to make it a part of your family culture that hugs abound, and are a part of the daily routine before bed.
4. Weekly Church Attendance and Worship
Regular church attendance is at an all time low nationally. If we intend for our children’s families to make church attendance a priority for our grandkids someday, we’d better be making it a priority for them now. Every family should strive to attend church at least once weekly at a minimum if not multiple times a week. Don’t allow petty things of lesser importance to take the place of the house of God in your family.
5. Saying “I Love You” Daily
It’s surprising how many families actually don’t say the words, “I love you” on a regular, daily basis. Maybe it’s because our families didn’t say it a lot growing up, or just because we get busy and forget. Sometimes, we take for granted that we’re saying it often, when in reality, we’re not. Evaluate yourself right now… when did you last say the words “I love you” to each member of your family? If it takes very long to remember, you’re probably not saying it often enough.
6. Family Team Cleanup
Who is responsible for cleaning up after meals? Who is responsible for cleaning the house when it gets messy. Well, the principle applies best, “When you make a mess, clean it up.” If the family enjoyed the meal, let’s collectively clean up as a family. If the house needs cleaned, let’s clean it as a team. Unfortunately in many homes, the culture is that primarily one person (usually mom) is the “family slave” who does these things out of a sense of love and duty, when in reality, much of what’s done by mom should be done by everyone. Maybe it’s time to make that change in our family culture.
7. Admitting and Apologizing when Wrong
All too often, when kids misbehave, they are sent to their room to be “dealt with”, but after they are disciplined, the process ends there. It’s really not enough for our kids to just to be disciplined for wrongdoing. It’s equally important that it becomes a part of our home culture that when wrong has been done, it is admitted, and an apology is granted. Discipline is not the only means to an end. Discipline is a part of the process. Admittance and apologizing are equally important ingredients in that process. One of the best ways to make it a part of your family culture is not just to demand it from your kids, but for mom and dad to set the example by admitting and apologizing when they’re wrong as well.
Which of these seven things do you feel has slipped the most in your family, and which one(s) are you willing to take the initiative to incorporate into your family’s culture, starting today?