Our families matter. The world is a difficult place and to face it alone is daunting and sad. We aren’t meant to be alone. We are incredibly social beings and our relationships give our lives not only context but our greatest happiness and meaning. We are meant to be together as couples and families.
It is in our families that we receive love and nurture. It is in our families that we form our most important beliefs about ourselves, life, relationships, and how to make it in the world. We learn such lessons not only from others but through our interactions with others, particularly our parents or primary caregivers. It is in our families that we recognize that we aren’t isolated and alone; that we are interconnected; that “us” is as important as “me.” From our sense of belonging we find the support and courage to step out into a daunting world.
Of course, our families vary in so many ways—one parent, two parents, large and small, close or distant, expressive or reserved. Unfortunately, not all homes are safe and nurturing places. Those who grew up in good homes and are still connected to their families are fortunate. Those who aren’t so fortunate may seek a sense of family through their religious affiliations, work groups, or social networks. Our desire for belonging and connection, “us,” is deep and vital to our emotional and spiritual well-being.
We know a lot about what makes happy and stable marriages and families.
- The adults do their best to grow themselves and thrive emotionally.
- They are congruent (open and honest) with each other and their children and yet in a context of mutual respect and an intent to build and strengthen.
- They seek unity and work as a team.
- They communicate openly and negotiate their differences and expectations.
- They show kindness in their language and behavior.
- They love their children and make them a high priority.
- They recognize themselves as the authority in their homes and seek to establish leadership not through control and coercion but by creating good structure, routines, and traditions.
- They have clear limits and boundaries which they reinforce through actions more than words.
- They create safe and trusting conditions in which children can open up and talk about their experiences and explore their emotions, emerging individuality, and dreams.
I call this a “nurturing family.” Creating such a family takes a great deal of awareness and personal maturity. Yet this may be the most important work we do. The strength of our future society resides in the qualities of character developed within our homes. How we as spouses and/or parents act and interact may not receive public acclaim but will be written into the hearts of our children and future generations. To change (improve) how we are as families is to change the world. Is there a more important work?
I recognize this as a life long journey. My hope is to share some thoughts through my blog and products that will bless you as a spouse, parent, or member of your family. I have some personal experience to draw upon. I also study the wisdom and research of others. I will be a happy man if I can help make your journey easier and more fulfilling.