One day a friend asked how it was that we had experienced success as a family. He has interacted with our family and wanted me to write down those things that we felt were foundational to our family situation.
I think it should be said here that any positive family dynamics are the result of people who desire and are willing to work hard at making the family successful. Is there an occasional stink bomb? Sure, but we are committed to working through these things. The list that follows is the beginning of telling the story.
While the list is not comprehensive, nor is it a guarantee for tranquility, I thought it might be of interest to some to reflect on some of the concepts that have influenced our family relationships. It must also be said here that those facing family challenges today should not throw in the towel. It is never too late to start to bring God into your family. It starts with you and prayer; just you and God. Earnest prayers are heard by God and God answers prayer. My prayer is that you will be encouraged by these reflections created over coffee and “donuts” one Wednesday morning in Breckenridge, CO.
A Journey in Progress
Breakfast conversation with the six adults at Daylight Donuts, Breckenridge, CO
Reflection on a 50th Anniversary and what makes a family successful
- Preceding prayers for the children and spouses of children and grandchildren by previous generations – Dad’s parents began praying for our daughter’s husbands from the day they learned we were expecting each child.
- Dad invited Christ into his heart at the age of seven, and as a teenager re-committed his life to follow the Lord – Train up a child in the way he should go – raised in an environment filled with exposure to discussions of God
- After reflecting on the story of Solomon, Dad asked God for two things, wisdom, because God was pleased with Solomon’s request, and a wife who would be strong in the faith when his faith was weak – Solomon’s wives led him away from God.
- God answers Dad’s prayers by providing a wife of character, strong in the faith to compliment my weaknesses – a woman committed to God first, then to her husband
- The family celebrates milestones birthdays, anniversaries, graduations
- Modeling home leadership that demonstrates real faith by living out a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – lives that diligently try to exemplify the two great commandments of loving God and loving our neighbors
- Mimi and Papa respect God’s model of the home by honoring sons-in-law leadership of their homes by communicating home leadership concepts through them
- Overlooking, yet challenging, comments not well thought out – overlooking each others’ faults – not being easily offended by sins of commission or omission, slight or oversight – forgiveness (both asking and giving) is a key word
- Abundant gift of hospitality, keeps us getting together at special occasions and random times
- Sons-in-law knit together as they are great friends and cover for each other – part of God’s answer to the prayers of previous generations
- Common commitment to faith and faithfulness – a conviction that a personal relationship with Christ is a top priority so the table is set for each family member to recognize the choice before them – prayer without ceasing for the faith and growth of each family member
- Choosing church relationships and engagement are a priority and important part of family values and extended “family of believers” relationships
- Trust – freedom, empowerment, and encouragement to succeed in being your own person – all that God made you to be
- Being for each other – thinking the best of each other – presuming the best intentions
- Sons-in-law still break bread with “Dad” – one SIL estimates over 1,000 hours of coffee in early morning hours – another mentored in the faith for over a year – investing in the heads of our homes
- Higher mission and purpose – life is bigger than our family, e.g., FCA, Father Daughter, Father Son Retreats, Entertaining events like CEO roundtable, College and Career Group at church, involvement in church at all levels – lives focused on helping and praying for others keeps self in perspective
- We all support the mission and purpose calling of each family
- Investment in posterity – when girls were dating – invested in dating choice decisions
- Humility that comes from study of and understanding of the scriptures
- Marriages built on the biblical model; man is the head of the house, husband and wife are to love and respect each other
- Play together. Family vacation to the beach or the mountains. Hiking and biking with ice cream treats afterwards. Movie nights, bowling, and playing games. A joyful heart is good medicine.
- Focus on what unites us not divides.
- We have very strong personalities in our family. All are leaders. The diversity of personalities can divide in a spirit competition or even playing favorites. Yet, a common commitment to a belief bring unity built on love and faith. Some families break under such differences. In love, it unites making us stronger.
- Mentorship and pursuit of wisdom. Always seeking to learn from friends in the faith, family, and work who may impart insight especially during challenging seasons.
- There is a glass cabinet in the foyer of our home containing the Bibles of parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. This is our way of honoring our fathers and mothers, and thanking God for their faithfulness and prayerful impact in our lives and the lives of our respective family members. There is a rich history of godly people who prayed for their successor generations.
We then gathered the input of the grandkids (ages 11 – 20)
- Loyalty to each other
- Mimi’s capability to destroy our will to live in card games – we love to play games together
- Thorough discussion – talk about real stuff – communication
- We play a lot
- Eat together
- Own their own faith
- Church is not a chore
- Grateful – attitude of thankfulness