by Deacon Stephen Bowling
Have I ever mentioned to you one of my favorite websites The Art of Manliness? Seriously it is a must read for all dad’s in the world as well as all men who want to be the very best that they can be.
Started by a young gentleman named Brett McKay along with his wife Kate and several other contributors in 2008, this constantly updated website is devoted to teaching virtues, integrity, morals, health, literature, philosophy, social skills and tons of practical advice for daily living that folks of all ages and backgrounds can appreciate. I read it daily and encourage everyone I can to do the same. The articles (and podcasts) are awesome, not just for men but for women too; virtue, you see, is something of which we can never hear enough.
As you might suspect, one of the most talked about subjects on this website is that of fatherhood, the subject of this month’s newsletter. There are literally dozens of practical and thought-filled articles relating to it on the site, but one article in particular recently caught my eye. The article was entitled “Fathering with Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture.”
In the article, Brett seeks out parents of the families whom he admires for having a tight family bond: the parents were happy, the kids were all well-adjusted and generally did the right thing and everyone in the family seemed to genuinely love, respect, and care about each other. He makes it a point to ask them what their “secret” is to creating such a tight family bond and they all pretty much say the same thing: they’re all intentional about creating and fostering a positive family culture.
The article spends a significant amount of time explaining what a family culture is, and how one arises in all families in one form or another, whether intentionally shaped or not. Brett concludes that three ingredients are always necessary in order to create a positive family culture: values, norms and traditions. As Brett defines them, they are:
- Values give a family an overarching purpose and guide as to how each family member acts and behaves in different situations. Positive family values could include kindness, mutual support, respect, sacrifice, hard work, fun, and service.
- Norms are the spoken and unspoken rules of how a family operates; they represent your values in action. Norms guide how family members interact with one another and with the outside world.
- Traditions are a set of behaviors and routines that provide a family a sense of identity and purpose. They provide cohesion to the nuclear family and connection to extended family.
Brett is very clear that the specifics of all of these may vary greatly from family to family, but certain aspects concerning these are always present in families to admire: these are positive and deliberate.
I encourage you to read the entire article HERE to go deeper with what makes a good Family Culture . . . and make Brett’s blog a regular read if you can. I think you will find it enlightening, inspiring and full of great content for everyone’s enjoyment.