I interact with a lot of people, and almost all of them want to be “successful” in their marriages and their parenting, but I’m surprised at how few people actually have any kind of definition for what “success” actually means for their family. When asked, most folks sum up their philosophy by saying, “We’re just trying to do the best we can,” which basically means “We’re aiming for a bullseye in the dark and we have no way of knowing whether we’re hitting it or not.”
Our families are far too important to exist without any real plan or definition for success. Legacy-defining issues of this magnitude can’t be comprehensively addressed in a short blog post, but I want to give you some framework for how to start defining and achieving “success” in your own family.
Based on what the Bible (the ultimate family resource guide) says about these issues and the examples of some exemplary families in modern times and throughout history, I’ve boiled down these big issues into five key “House Rules” listed below. If you’ll implement these in your own home, I’m convinced you’ll be on a path to “success” that will create a positive legacy in your family for generations to come:
As a “successful” family, we will always strive to…
1. Value character over charisma.
We don’t want to be impressive; we want to be real. In our home, we will not compromise our integrity to achieve popularity, accolades or monetary gain. We understand that any “success” that happens at the expense of our character is not really success.
2. Give each other unconditional love AND high expectations.
Most families are good at one or the other (or neither) of these, but both are incredibly important. Love must be given freely and without condition, but simultaneously, we must love each other enough to expect the best. In love, we propel each other on towards continuous improvement in all aspects of life (career, health, faith, academics, etc.)
3. Be there for each other.
Our families don’t need more gifts or gadgets; they need more of us. They need our presence, not our presents. Our time is our greatest commodity and we should invest it into the relationships that matter most.
4. Always tell each other the truth.
Trust is the foundation of every healthy family, so we will fight for trust and always expect truth and honesty from each other. When we’ve blown it, we’ll be quick to admit it and we’ll seek forgiveness and work to rebuilt trust.
5. Never give up on each other!
A “perfect family” is just a group of imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other! In good times, celebrate with each other. In hard times, lean on each other. In all times, do life together.
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