Being Intentional About Family Culture

Several years ago, when I was a new mom, I remember a colleague of mine chastising me for  not to putting up a Christmas tree on that particular year. “Alison,” she said, “traditions are important. This is your daughter’s childhood”.

Maybe she was a bit crazy (my daughter was only a year old after all), but now, eight years later, I can see where she was coming from. Traditions ARE important. What we decide to include and exclude in our regular family life DOES matter.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the environment we create in our homes, and what makes us unique from other families. We all spend our time and money differently. We do things differently. There are no carbon copy families.

I find the variety quite refreshing, don’t you?

I have some extended family members that are really into hunting and fishing and they even have the wardrobe to go with it. While my kids were learning to ride a bike, theirs were learning to put a worm on a line, steer a boat, or fire a gun. And while we plan for the upcoming holiday seasons, they plan for the hunting seasons.

They have a very different family culture than we do. Never in a million years would I want to spend a day hiding out in the bush, covered in bugs, trying to scope out an animal. Seriously. I’ve heard that even the women pee into hand held urinals. Nope. I can’t imagine the level of commitment to an activity that would entice me to do that! But they LOVE it!

What do you love to do? What shared activities tie you together as a family? What is included in your own family culture?

What is family culture anyway?

In the same way that a country or ethnic group may have its own particular traditions, customs, practices, and values, families also each have their own unique culture.

Here are some unique practices, values, and activities that I have seen in various family cultures:

  • hunting, fishing, hiking, camping
  • reading (a favourite podcast of mine is dedicated to building your family culture around books)
  • participation in, or appreciation of, the arts
  • academics
  • service (church, community, etc.)
  • sports
  • food & eating
  • gaming, technology, and comic-con

The list is really endless though. Families are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike!

Why is Family Culture important?

Family culture is important. The Culture you create within your home will:

  • shape who your children become
  • influence how your children identify themselves
  • contribute to their sense of belonging
  • form the habits and roles they will perform later in life
  • shape the next generation through the values you pass on
The culture you create in your home has the power to influence not only those who live within the four walls of your home, but may even extend to your larger community.

It is so important to be intentional about your family culture! All families, have their own unique cultures, be intentional about incorporating habits, traditions, and values that reflect your own personal convictions.

Whether you realize it or not, your family has its own culture. You may not even be aware of some of the components of your family culture!

And here’s a sobering thought, if you are not intentional about building the family culture you want, you just may absorb the culture that surrounds you (for better or for worse!).

This is why it is so important that we be intentional about what kind of culture we are building in our homes!

Here are some simple ways to build the culture you want:

  • Decide to spend your time, money, and resources in areas that reflect your values.
  • Actively seek activities that reflect your values and reject those that don’t.
  • Share family stories and history.
  • Encourage a collective identity — the sense of “this is who we are”.
  • Celebrate each other and your uniqueness.

While the basis of many of our choices are often serious values and beliefs, how these are reflected in various families can vary greatly

. For example, many families place a high importance on health and well being. How each family choses to reflect that value however, can be quite different. One family may express it through participation in athletics and sport, another through a commitment to healthy eating, and still another by prioritizing activities in the outdoors.

So have some fun creating family traditions and building a strong family culture that reflects your values! And know that doing so will enrich the lives of those you love most. and invest in the future of your family.

I’d love to hear about what makes your family unique! Tell me in the comments below what traditions, habits, or values tie the members of your family together <3

 


6 Comments

  1. Pat

    September 7, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Wow, never really thought about it, but family traditions are so much more than that! Considering it a part of a family’s culture puts it into a whole ‘nother perspective!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!!
    Pat recently posted…Coffee and Conversation #110 – Yes, you CAN get “in shape” with #C2K TrainingMy Profile

    1. Learning Mama

      September 8, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Thanks for stopping by Pat 🙂

  2. Kimberly @ Homeschooling in Nova Scotia

    September 9, 2016 at 9:32 am

    We share and celebrate being geeks and enjoy playing games together – one of our traditions is attending conventions together as a family. We are all involved in the performing arts together. I am proud to say we also have a tradition of helping out around the house and happily pitching in – both my kids asked to cook supper twice a week each, years ago 🙂
    Kimberly @ Homeschooling in Nova Scotia recently posted…Can You Homeschool on a Shoestring?My Profile

    1. Learning Mama

      September 9, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      That sounds like a lovely family culture — I hope my family develops that same culture!

  3. Jennifer | Deliberate Homeschooling

    September 9, 2016 at 11:58 am

    This is wonderful.

    We have several traditions in our home that mean a lot to us but I never considered how it was part of our family culture. The depth, importance, and meaning of those traditions seem so much more “important” now.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Jennifer | Deliberate Homeschooling recently posted…6 Awesome (but Unusual) Homeschool Supplies!My Profile

  4. annette @ A net in Time

    September 9, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    never really thought too much about being intentional about developing traditions. I see those types of things as naturally being created within a family unit. Sometimes through discussion and sometimes because “that’s what we do”. 🙂
    annette @ A net in Time recently posted…Five Minute Friday: To HealMy Profile

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