Family Ways


How many of you grew up in a household that had rules? (This is a rhetorical question considering most parents of toddlers figure out the need for pretty rules quickly.) We definitely had rules growing up (I’m pretty sure one of them had something to do with not hitting my sister, but after that I get a little fuzzy). Most families invest a lot of time and energy into getting children to follow the rules, and it’s no surprise really. Who doesn't want well-behaved, obedient children?
Rule #1 Don't play with the things on the bookshelf.
You can see how well that going for us!
However, if you’re like me, you don’t really remember all the rules you had growing up. Sure the obvious once stick with you (like no running with scissors), but so many rules were situational. As we got grew, the rules had to change to accommodate our changing situations.  The rules were specific to a time and a place.

Now, I understand that some rules are necessary, but I have often wondered if there was a better way. I want something that will grow with my family, that will guide the way we think and act toward one another. I want something that has “stickability.” It’s one thing to constantly say, “don’t do that.” It’s another to say, “This is how we behave. This is what we do”.  So when I came across Clay Clarkson’s 24 Family Ways, I was intrigued. I was impressed with the way he takes so many of the rules I remember as a child and breaks them down into statements about who we are as a family and what we do as Christians.  Here are his Family Ways.

Twenty-Four Family Ways

Concerning AUTHORITIES in our family…
We love and obey our Lord, Jesus Christ, with wholehearted devotion.
We read the Bible and pray to God every day with an open heart.
We honor and obey our parents in the Lord with a respectful attitude.
We listen to correction and accept discipline with a submissive spirit.

Concerning RELATIONSHIPS in our family…
We love one another, treating others with kindness, gentleness, and respect.
We serve one another, humbly thinking of the needs of others first.
We encourage one another, using only words that build up and bless others.
We forgive one another, covering an offense with love when wronged or hurt.

Concerning POSSESSIONS in our family…
We are thankful to God for what we have, whether it is a little or a lot.
We are content with what we have, not coveting what other have.
 We are generous with what we have, sharing freely with others.
 We take care of what we have, using it wisely and responsibly.

Concerning WORK in our family…
We are diligent to complete a task promptly and thoroughly when asked.
We take initiative to do all of our own work without needing to be told.
We work with a cooperative spirit, freely giving and receiving help.
 We take personal responsibility to keep our home neat and clean at all times.

Concerning ATTITUDES in our family…
We choose to be joyful, even when we feel like complaining.
We choose to be peacemakers, even when we feel like arguing.
We choose to be patient, even when we feel like getting our own way.
We choose to be gracious, even when we don’t feel like it.

Concerning CHOICES in our family…
We do what we know is right, regardless of what others do or say.
  We ask before we act when we do not know what is right to do.
  We exercise self-control at all times and in every kind of situation.
   We always tell the truth and do not practice deceitfulness of any kind.

I like these. They are biblical, and fit the direction I want my family to take.  I don't know if they are something we will end up using for our family or if one of these days we'll take the time to write our own Family Ways.

Either way, I think it's important that we as parents make a conscious decision about the direction we want our family to take; because like it or not, we all have family ways whether we write them down or not. Kids grow up so fast and the most important life lessons aren't learned at church or at school. They are learned at home.

I’d like to know what some of your family ways are. Are they written down? Are there some not listed here that you would consider important?  What rules do you have for your children?

*I copied the 24 Family Ways out of the back of Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. You can find out more about the Clarkson family and their ministry at

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! I wrote these down, they are so great! Have a blessed day!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...