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Building a Family Culture

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There are all kinds of families in the world. There are the families that laugh a lot together and are really loud together in public places. There are the families that never talk and don’t seem to enjoy being around each other.

There are the families that always go on vacations together – they are the talk of the community! Families that are always hiking or outdoors are often seen as adventurous and exotic. Everyone knows the family that plays board and card games together.

The reason we think about families doing certain things is because we intuitively understand that each family has a family culture. WinterPromise wants to help you create your unique family culture so that you can provide a healthy and dynamic family environment for your kids.

What is culture?

On Dictionary.com there are a few ways to use the word culture, but the one that best fits what we are talking about is the 5th definition.

 “. . . the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.”

Every group of people, no matter how small or how large, has a culture. Every community, church, family, group of friends, and social club has a culture. People make culture. Which means even if you are not trying, your family has a culture.

“The behaviors and beliefs.” What your family does and what your family values will dictate your family’s habits, traditions, and patterns. Ask yourself, “Why do we do what we do?” You do everything for a reason, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Do you get pizza every Friday night for the family only because you love pizza? Obviously you love pizza, but you do it for more than that. You love having a casual meal that is a family favorite, where you can watch a movie and just chill. That is a part of family culture. You value something, and it is very different from the family that always gets Chinese and plays Scrabble.

Every family has traditions that form a rhythm to their lives.

Communication reveals a healthy or an unhealthy culture.

Everybody knows that communication is important to the health of any relationship. More than that, the type of communication that happens between people reveals the health of that relationship.

Your family is no different. If the communication in your family is primarily composed of arguments, anger, conflict and rudeness, then most people are going to understand that the family culture is very unhealthy. On the other hand, if your communication is full of laughter, patience, fun, enjoyment, lengthy conversations and investment in others, then most people are going to see an amazing and healthy family culture.

Communication and family culture go hand in hand. If you have good communication, you will probably have a healthy family culture. If you have a healthy family culture, then you will probably have great communication.

Promote good communication. Patience and understanding are key elements, along with forgiveness, in having a family that communicates well. The reason this is so important is that if you have good communication, your family will really love being together. If you see a pattern of poor communication between certain children, make sure you work on that right away. The longer it is let go the harder it is to uproot.

Promote teamwork!

After being able to talk and enjoy each other as a family, you can begin focusing on fine-tuning your family culture. Family isn’t all fun and games. In fact it mostly is not. Being a part of a family usually means conquering projects together, helping family move, fixing a water leak in the basement, making schedules work and etc.

Your family needs to be able to work together well and enjoy working together. Life will be full of to-do’s and being able to work together as a family will be a huge step in creating an amazing family culture.

Working together doesn’t have to be a chore. There are so many times when a family activity or project can turn into an amazing memory. Laughing together, making gentle fun of one another, enjoying success together – these things can all be enjoyed when working together.

Summary

Building a healthy family culture is something most parents want but too often don’t know how to achieve.  You may be asking, “What about fun? Shouldn’t we be talking about fun?” Certainly, fun is a huge part of a healthy family culture. If you can’t have fun together then there is some work to do. Talking about fun, though, does not create a “fun” family culture.

What does create a fun family culture? There is a lot to it, but if you can work together well and communicate in a healthy way, then you will create a fun family culture. Families were designed to work together and to have fun. For most of history the normal way to have fun was to have fun while you worked. Today, things are a little different. We aren’t fighting for survival every day, which means we create categories to describe what we’re doing – like doing something fun or doing work.

We strongly believe that if you create a culture of teamwork and healthy communication your family will have so much fun together!

Lighten the Load Part 2: Dealing with the Burdens of a Homeschool Mom

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Last time we discussed some different issues that may be weighing you down as a homeschool mom.  These can include financial stress, perfectionism, weariness, or anything else that causes you stress. In this post we want to give you some advice on how to deal with the myriad of issues in your life that may be causing you stress.

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. This is at the center of a lot of the struggles that moms have. Comparison is one of the most damaging things you can do to yourself. Homeschooling is a unique journey for each and every one of us.  No two families are the same since each has its own unique challenges and obstacles, therefore comparisons are usually not helpful.

Why do you always want to keep comparing yourself to others? Homeschool Mom of eight Simcha Fisher says,

“. . . you do feel like you have to prove yourself, that your kids need to be better than the public school kids academically. If you happen to go out during the day, you have to make sure everyone is spick and span and their shoes are matching,” Fisher explains.

Comparing your children to others, or yourself to other parents, inevitably becomes a question of apples and oranges—and of trying to do everything at once. “We wonder, ‘Are we doing enough?’ And then we overburden ourselves by thinking, ‘Surely we can do more.’”

Taken from an article on PBS – http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/homeschooling/combatting-homeschool-burnout/

You should not feel the need to prove yourself to others.  You should focus on you and your kids, not on what others are doing and what you think you are not doing.

  1. Find supportive friends and family. Finding a good group of friends that will listen to your stresses and support you is vital to any successful homeschool mom. You need friends so that you can be real with them. You need people in your life that you know it is safe to be honest with.

 

Friends are also important when you go through hard times.  They can be there to encourage you, and to help you make good decisions.  Everyone goes through hard times – homeschool moms are no different.  Make sure you have good friends around you for when that time comes.

 

  1. Find a daily routine and rhythm to your life, but be willing to be flexible. Having a routine can really help you get through the tough days. If you are having a stressful day, having a routine can help you get done what you need to get done, and it can even relax you. Not everyone is good at setting up a good routine.  Some have to work harder than others.  But we all end up in some sort of routine whether we try to or not.

 

That means you should make the most of your routine!  Include elements that help you enjoy your day, manage stress, and become efficient.  If you love coffee and alone time, get up a few minutes early to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and time to just sit and think.  If you want to exercise, try to include that in your week. A healthy routine and rhythm will help you manage the unreliable stress in life by being something reliable.

 

At the same time, you should not let the routine become the master of your life.  Then it becomes just another burden! Your life will not always go as planned, which means you need to be ready to go with the flow and understand that life does go a little awry sometimes.

 

 

If you have found a way to manage or cope with the stress that everyday life can bring, share on our Facebook page or email michaelforwinterpromise@gmail.com so that we can share it with our WinterPromise family!