The other day I wrote about Family Life Makes Good Cents, and how we have implemented some things in our home. After a few e-mails I feel like that post needed a Part Two.
First of all, this is what has worked for our family at this season. The thing about family life is that it is always changing, people come and go and their needs (physical, spiritual and emotional) are always changing. One of our biggest goals is to teach responsibility and encourage maturity. Different family members mature at different times, some have needs that the others don’t, again, the main point is to teach personal responsibility with a spirit of taking care of each other. Yet, because we are the parents and the head of the household, we carry the brunt of it.
As children become adults they may not share the same convictions and vision as the parents. Two of our children chose to move out and get their own place. THAT IS THEIR CHOICE! They have to be their own person. My post was not to imply that adult children moving out on their own was wrong, it was simply about living as a family has many benefits, physically, spiritually and emotionally. What works for one child may not work for another.
Just for the record, we feel much stronger about our daughters remaining at home until marriage for several reasons. As for our son, who is almost 23 now, does not share our conviction/vision, and that is OK. We love him dearly and he is a part of our daily life, but he has chosen to do things on his own, that is his choice; we are still Mom and Dad. And one day I believe he will see the light.
Some have asked how to encourage an attitude of living in community as a family when the children are older. The older your children are when you have a change of heart about family/community life, the more difficult it usually is to change your lifestyle and their thinking. No matter what, each person needs to become their own adult and some will choose a harder road. This is what I shared with one mom:
- There is no formula to raising your kids to “think like this”, anymore than we can make them think Biblicaly. We just need to do all we can to change our thinking and live like we believe it. We are so ingrained to be independent and success minded.
We organize all our time to get our kids from one activity to the next, so they can be all they can be and then make comments about not wanting to be a burden when we are old, etc… We should be making choices that will benefit the whole, encouraging each others’ gifts to be used as a blessing. All of which needs to be done in a spirit of meekness, otherwise all you get a a house full of bitter martyrs.
- Always be looking for (and pointing out) situations where families are living in community and see how it works for them and how it can be improved on, but remember, just because it works for them, it may not work for you, every family is different.
- Constantly be looking for ways for the life lessons to hit them in the wallet, good and bad. For us our gym membership was a biggie! I could not afford a personal membership, much less a family membership, but when the girls said they were willing to pay their portion, I was already
in that hot tubon that treadmill!
- Read books, watch movies and recognize real life stories about family life, especially the Amish and the Bible (NT and OT), glean from the wisdom of those who have strong families.
- Always be planning aloud! We need to be talking and planning how we can take care of our parents and grandparents and how we plan to help with our grandchildren (paying for lessons, teaching them skills, helping with transportation, vacations together). Our conversations and planning have to be community (family) minded.
- Sit under good church doctrine that re-enforces Biblical community life, not to be confused with socialism. Unfortunately, most American churches are all about individualism, rather than the Body as a whole.
- Most of all we need to pray and be content. There is no perfect system, there is no perfect family, but we do need to be changing the way we view family life and taking care of each other. Maybe then in a generation or two we can see a real difference in our family unity so we can do a greater work in the world!
Family life does make sense and cents,
but our hope and security is not in ourselves or our children,
but in the Lord alone.
Part 1: Family Life Makes Good Cents