I was thinking more about the three components I see underlying parenting and homeschooling: inner work and personal development on the part of the parent, a religious and spiritual life, and a healthy family culture. Obviously each one of these influences the others, but I want to spend some time over the next eight days to elucidate eight components that I feel make up a healthy family culture. You can take what components resonate with you, and take away or add others of your own. At any rate, I think this is a good topic to get thinking about as we head into the New Year with a Christmas mood, a mood of kindness, courtesy, and (in the spirit of the Epiphany Season of the church), of being a visionary for our family life.
These are the eight components that I have chosen to make up family culture:
Rhythm – This is an outward gesture made up of some of the inner attitudes towards some of the components below. Hopefully it reflects the values your family holds toward sleep, rest, mealtimes, work, play, etc. This is an area that gets a lot of play on different blogs, and sometimes much bashing as in, “I don’t need a rhythm!” I think rhythm actually is important, it has been an important part of human culture and being human since the beginning of time. More about this in another post.
Attitudes toward sleeping/rest – Is your home unhurried enough to be conducive to rest, to early bedtimes, to sleeping in later should the children need it? Do you notice your sleep and rest patterns changing with the seasons?
Attitude toward mealtimes – Is there time for you to sit down together as a family for meals? Do you cook? How many times a week are you eating out or getting fast food? What is your attitude toward nutrition and food?
Attitude toward Work and Play – All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but what I see today are many children who are responsible for nothing. A long time ago, I talked about “what would happen in your house if your children were gone? what wouldn’t get done?” If the answer is that nothing would happen if the children were gone, and your children are older, then your children do not have enough responsibility. Chores are a great stomping ground to learn how to work together as a team.
The other common phenomenon is children who cannot do much self-directed play and need you present for every bit of their play, even at older ages. The days of neighborhood groups of children getting together and playing every afternoon in games where adults are not present has gone by the wayside in many places in the U.S. due to aftercare, classes and sports, and the play life of the child has suffered for it.
Attitude of Gratitude – With gratitude comes humility, kindness and courtesy and making a place where the family members support each other in love.
Intimacy of Adults in the Household/State of Marriage or Partnership – A solid marriage or partnership is the foundation of the household; without this nothing really works well. Our upcoming book study, “ The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide From The Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert” by John Gottman and Nan Silver is going to take a much closer look at this.
How We Deal With And View Conflict – How you deal with conflict, with feeling frustrated and angry, becomes the model for how our children deal with it. How is conflict seen in your home? Is conflict just glossed over so no one fights? Is it an all-out war? How do you communicate in conflict, both with the other adults in the house and your children?
View of Children, Childhood and Discipline – How do you view children: as miniature adults with less experience who just need to be filled up, or do you view children as coming into development slowly and that certain things are appropriate at certain stages? How do you view discipline – as guidance, as leading your children into the adults they are going to become, or as a place to lay down the law or as a place to lay down no laws since children are children? What is your view of authority in parenting and what picture does that conjure up?
I can’t wait to start thinking about these areas, can you? These are the foundation of life along with religion and inner development, and together all of this forms the basis that homeschooling can be super imposed upon. Without examining these foundational levels, homeschooling and parenting is that much harder.