Wednesday, May 9

Civility In The Home

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of test driving a Volvo in Gothenberg, Sweden. It was a delightful experience! I was part of a group and we were each given a car, a map, and a set of instructions. Our job was to follow the protocol. The directions were simple and logical; drive on the correct side of the road, look at the map, and follow the guidelines. Off we went.

I had never been to Gothenberg, Sweden, much less driven on the opposite side of the road to what I was used to. After following the map and a list of rules, I finally arrived to my destination safely. A couple of hours later I looked up and noticed a couple arriving to the restaurant as we were getting ready to leave. Unfortunately, they had lost their way. Rather than follow the map and the instructions, they created their own scenic tour and took off in the hope of reaching their destination a lot faster.

Having a family, to a varying degree, is a unique experience. For some, it can be as foreign as driving on the opposite side of the road. For others, it may feel more natural. Just how do we turn out a successful family? What foundation do we follow…a clear definition…a thoughtful process?

When my husband and I were married, we made a decision to write down a list of values. What became important to us was a formula for, what we believed, would empower our own family. The wisdom we formulated came through the words of King Solomon. 
Sometimes we can have a bad attitude in life. Other times we don’t see the bigger picture of how our behavior can have a negative impact on others. Our homes are a training ground for cultivating great families.

A wise lady once told me, “Deborah, a great family is merely a good family practicing good things each day.” This made me feel like I could do it! One day at a time, the little changes we make do add up.

If we go through life without direction, then figuratively we can be carried away like a grass seed in the wind. Who knows where we will end up?
In a thousand different ways, our children absorb our values by witnessing actions, behaviors, and attitudes. The real legacy we leave in our children’s lives, is what we have lived out before them. Here, then, is the pressing question for any parent: “Is my lifestyle filled with good stuff, which will form a bond of security and civility for my children?”

King Solomon says in Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”

That’s exciting! If we earnestly and prayerfully consider our cause as a family, then the effect is that our family will be guided in the right way – and yours will too! On the other hand, thoughtlessness tends to disappointment, shame and often, despair.

There have been times along the path of my own life when I have been off track. We are a work in progress. In fact, we are all a work of art! Our families are precious and what we follow reinforces our beliefs and directives. Would you allow me to share some of what keeps our family sweet and unique?

Our Family Mission Statement goes something like this:
  • To be kind, respectful, and supportive of each other
  • To be honest and transparent with each other, in a spirit of love and acceptance
  • To keep a spiritual feeling in our home
  • To demonstrate love toward each other
  • To be personally responsible for living a joy-filled and fruitful life
  • To build up those who God has placed over us, through our public and private conversation and through our deeds; my husband, my parents, my authority 
  • To guard our words and conversation
  • To look for the good in each other and the good in others
  • To not complain
  • To build our home through our words
  • The work together for a greater cause
  • To be grateful and to appreciate our family for the gift that it is
Why don’t you take this opportunity to make up your own statement? It does not have to be complete for it to have an influence. Involve everyone! The key is to start with your own values for your family and build on it.

Our families are a gift from God. I would encourage you to set some goals. Children need to follow something. If they do not know what to follow, they will follow anything.

I believe in you,


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