We often ask how we can help change the world, but true change begins in our own homes and hearts. True change begins with raising a generation to love wholeheartedly, run to Jesus first, and aim to be less judgmental and more forgiving.
At the heart and soul of a healthy family does not mean a care-free upbringing or a mistake-free lifestyle.
All families face heartache, changes, trials, and times in their lives when they question everything. A healthy family is one that unites during difficult times and tries to make good out of difficult and even life-shattering situations. It is not about chasing perfection, it’s about implementing authenticity.
At the heart of an unhealthy family can be hidden sin, pride, shame, anger, negativity, hostility, unresolved and lingering pain from the past and a lack of coming together and uniting as one. Unhealthy is keeping secrets and trying to keep one’s emotions and struggles bottled up.
A healthy family is one that pulls their hope, joy, strength, and direction from God and His Word. They are honest, open, and free to admit when they are wrong or make mistakes. It’s creating a safe place. Healthy families are not perfect families, but persons uniting as one body and aiming to be on one accord. The family is the foundation of one’s future emotional, spiritual, and social development. The family is where a child begins to form their opinions, beliefs, and values. It is the foundation for the future.
Unhealthy families and a negative, stress-filled home can leave adolescents with problems that carry on into adulthood. Physical/emotional abuse, history and abuse of drugs/alcohol, unhealthy values, low self-esteem, are just a few of the many issues that can arise from an unhealthy family.
Many families today are lacking a father figure, a set of parents who care for and authentically love one another or don’t exhibit a desire to improve the health of their family. It is important to realize that God is the constant we so desperately need to do so.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. We are imperfect people. It’s ok if we admit that to our children. We can say “I’m sorry” for losing our temper and admit to our spouse that we overreacted. We will make mistakes in parenting, marriage, and sometimes face plant in our own personal struggles. I struggle with wanting to have it all together. But I don’t. Not even remotely close. Some days end in tears and muttered apologies to my husband or son for falling short, yet again.
We can’t chase perfection, we should aim to create a home of authenticity.
2. Make your home a safe place. A place where your children can come to you about things they are battling. A place that holds them accountable yet loves them when they make mistakes. A place where you can ask for help. Or fall on your knees, begging for help.
Home is not the color of your walls or the sturdiness of the structure that you reside in . . . it is a place where love surrounds and abounds. Love needs to surround you, your marriage, and your parenting style. Love needs to surround your actions and reactions. Love is an action, a reaction, and the way that you carry out your promises—even when you selfishly want to throw the towel in.
3. Make memories. Laugh, laugh, laugh. It was once said that “Laughter is medicine for the soul.” Learn to laugh at yourself. Learn to be silly. Release your inner child. Laugh at your child’s corny knock-knock jokes. And don’t make it an obvious or condescending pity laugh. Make your spouse giggle. Reminisce on good memories you’ve made together.
Laughter and memory-making are at the core of creating a happy, loving home. Tell your spouse weird jokes. Play dress up with your daughter. Pull out the lightsabers with your son. Have a Nerf war.
Let’s make home a place of utter authenticity. A place where you can admit your struggles, apologize when you’ve made mistakes, hold one another accountable, and get to know one another on a deeper level. One that knows who your spouse and children really are underneath the surface. One that knows more than their favorite foods or tv shows, but one that lets them spew out their fears, hopes, and dreams, like a soda can that was violently shaken before opening.
Now, let’s go change the world—starting right in our living room with a family movie night and in the baby’s nursery by rocking the wee one to sleep.