In our family we try to encourage our kids to know what kind of people they want to be. We talk to them about different virtues and traits they want to possess in their life and then try to give them examples of how they can be those kind of people.
Our little family gets together every Monday night (or at least once a week, sometimes not on Monday if Noah is working) and we teach a lesson to our children about a wide array of things, always centered around Christian based topics. We call this Family Home Evening (FHE). We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints (sometimes people refer to us as lds or mormons) and so usually our topics are about something that is centered around our Religion. This past year we have been working on different virtues as part of our FHE, we have talked about being kind, loving, trust worthy, hard working, and different things like that.
This past weekend I went to a Mothering retreat that was put on by a wonderful group called Power of Moms (go here to see the website). I got SOOOOO many great ideas, and so much information on how to be a great mom and hopefully I can share a lot of what I learned and thoughts that I had, on here. One of the things that I heard that really stood out to me was about an idea called a Family Culture. The idea of a Family Culture is to create fun/meaningful traditions in our families. Something they said was, “The feeling in the home is what really matters.” There are so many cultures out there like the internet, worldly, and social cultures that want to pull our kids in all different directions, so its important that we have given then a great Family Culture so that they have strong roots. They talked about how children want to feel a part of something, that’s often why kids gravitate into not so great social cultural groups. Its our jobs as parents to give them a place where they do belong, where they can say, “WOW!!! This is my family! I am so lucky that I get to be a part of it.” I was pretty excited that we already do so many things that are part of a Family Culture but I also realized I could do so much more. I have a lot more I want to say about the idea of Family Culture’s, so stay tuned.
One mom stood up during the conference and said that her family has a Family Creed. They set up a few traits that they want to become, in their family and every night at dinner they go around the table and talk about how they were one of those particular traits that day. I absolutely LOVED that idea and that night Noah and I talked about this idea and how we wanted to cater it to our family. We decided that we would sit down with the kids and come up with a list of things that they thought we should be. So Sunday night during our “meeting of the minds” session, (something I learned from Linda and Richard Eyre years ago, that has made a huge impact for good in my marriage and life as a mom! Ill do a post about that soon too) at dinner we asked the kids who they thought that the Jenkins should be. They gave us lots of GREAT ideas, I was very impressed and realized that they really do listen to me when I am talking to them about the kind of people they should be. I was actually getting a bit teary eyed when I was writing down their answers because they were pretty perfect.
This is their list (totally made by them with zero help from Noah and me.)
-Listen to others
-Go to church
-Don’t listen to mean people
-Help other people
-Don’t do bad things
-Don’t say mean words
After they came up with their list we helped guide them into combining up some of these things and narrowing down our list to 5 things, that way it was easy to remember. We decided that all of our list could fit into these 5 groups
The Jenkins are….
3. Serve others
So every night at dinner we are now going to talk about how we were a Jenkins that day. We hope that this will help the kids understand the kind of people they want to be and that it will help learn to see how there are opportunities around them everyday for them to be virtuous people.
I am typing this list up so that we can all see it on a regular basis. We also decided that we wanted to point out to the kids at different times during the day when we “Caught them” being a Jenkins, so that they could start to see how often they were being great kids. I think its important to not only teach our kids virtues and noble characteristics but to also show them how we have chances to really be those kinds of people every day. Landon hit a golf ball into our neighbors yard and without me even reminding him to knock on their door instead of jumping the fence, he went to their front door and knock and asked if he could get his ball back. I told him how proud I was of him for being so Respectful and Courageous. I told him that he showed respect to the neighbors by knocking on their door and showed courage by going up to their door and knocking in the first place. He got a big smile on his face and said, “I know mom! That’s because I am a Jenkins and Jenkins are Respectful and Courageous.” It made my heart swell so big for my sweet boy. It made me really proud at that moment to be a Jenkins and to be his mom, and I could tell that he was proud to be a Jenkins too.
There are opportunities in our life every day to make the right choice, to choose to be a certain kind of person, and I want to make sure that my children go out into the world knowing how to be men and women of virtue. I want them to learn at a young age how important it is to be God Fearing people who always choose the right. I have talked to them for years about Choosing the Right, but I think really our job as parents is to do more then just tell them to Choose the Right, but to teach them daily about HOW to choose the right and to point out opportunities that they have on a daily basis where they have to make the decision to choose the better path. I also think its important for them to see how those experiences can help shape them and help them to see the opportunities even when we are not there to point them out. I am excited about this new little piece of Family Culture that we have decided to implement in our family.