What I wish my parents had known about culture

Perhaps you have heard the expression, If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards?

 This concept can be applied to health, relationships, and finances, and almost anything else. If we’re not being intentional about growth, we are very likely regressing. This is also true with our legacy as parents, and the culture we cultivate in our home. Almost everyone wants their kids to have a better life than they themselves had, and I’m no different. However, as with most things worth doing, generational growth isn’t easy.

Why?

Well, if we’re serious in our desire to have each generation be stronger than the one before, we have to first be willing to do two very basic —and very tough—things:

  1. Be willing to honestly identify and talk about areas where we feel our parents could have done better, even as we love and honor them for all of the blessings they gave us.
  2. Be equally willing to have our own children do the same.

…And, by the way, if you’re not ok with #2, you probably shouldn’t do #1 either.

I have amazing parents.They have always been together. I have always felt loved by both of them. They provided a secure home that valued God and hard work. I am grateful for all of this, and for the strong work ethic that they instilled in me.

However, looking back,  I realize that our home culture valued getting results (read: hard work) at the expense of open communication and authentic relationships.

Don’t get me wrong, placing a high priority on getting results has served me well in life and my work ethic has been a big part of my success. However, the low priority on communication and relationships left me relationally weak, and I struggled with valuing people.

I have worked hard to change this, not only in my own behavior, but also by cultivating with Amanda a culture in our home that equips our children well in this area. My desire is that Amanda and I can learn from what our parents did right—and wrong. I know this can be a tough thing to talk about publicly in a way that is both honest and honoring of our parents. We are both doing our best.

Someday our kids will talk about our parenting—good and bad. My hope is that they too will be able to have honest conversations with their own children. Perfection is not my goal. Becoming healthy enough to be authentic and vulnerable is my goal. Sharing my story in a way that inspires other people is my desire.

Yes it’s hard to have honest conversations at first. But once the culture is created where open conversations around relationships becomes the norm, anything less feels—and is—fake.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t yet have this in your home.  Most families don’t have a culture of honest communication. And the real problem with this ‘normal’ environment is that it is extremely hard to ever start being really honest. The goal is to have enough hard conversations in the early years while the consequences are minor. Then when our kids are older and the stakes are higher, the honest communication remains the norm through hard issues, not the exception.once open conversations around relationships becomes the norm, anything less feels—and is—fake. Click To Tweet

Healthy relationships that are open and honest are hard work. It’s no surprise to see weakened relationships in every area of our society. But, I believe no matter what stage and what age we are in, it is possible to build healthy relationships around honest communication.

This sounds great. But how do we get that kind of culture in our homes?

There are 2 ways (actually more than 2, but I want to focus on these):

  1. The Leader Goes First, and
  2. Getting a Strong Support System.

Over the next couple of weeks I will share more in depth about these 2 ways that I believe are important to creating a culture of openness and honesty.

 

Comments 2

  1. Belinda

    As my siblings and I discuss our childhood… having “real” honesty and communication wasn’t something that happened. My brother, who is 16 years younger, has a family that talks, but the most important thing … they listen and respect each other. Guess what… their teens like being with their parents.

  2. Mironda

    I love this! I myself have examined the culture I grew up in and the number one thing I changed was to communicate the words “I love you” to my child. Establishing love in the home is the foundation.

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