5 Questions to Better Lead Your Family
Many people think so much about work or business goals they forget the bigger picture, their family. The family unit is the most powerful force on earth. The family is where nurturance, healthy self-esteem, positive societal impact and effective personal productivity starts.
For some reason, we’re so used to putting energy into our business life or personal goals, we don’t think about where we’re leading our families.
Families outlive companies, careers and death.
The effects of a negative, neglectful, abusive or un-supportive family reap havoc on society at large. Your family vision, mission, values, and goals can change this.
Here are five questions to think about as you consider how you can better lead your family:
1. What new paths do you want to set for your family? Generational stuff like divorce, adultery, financial insufficiency, secrets, abuse, alcoholism, withholding love, critical-ness, cut off relationships, health issues, or under involved parenting happen because the prior generation didn’t choose to talk about it or get help to overcome it. Many walk in dangerous paths, simply because the path was already laid. It’s easier to walk a path already set, our DNA likes it because it’s effortless. It takes support and personal responsibility to walk the road less traveled.
Fall in 2016, I went on a road trip, and was blown away from a stretch of land in Utah on I-70 that felt like its own country. It was magnificent! Canyons stretched for hundreds of miles, deep in the earth, deep above the earth in various stone elements. My jaw dropped as I thought, how many lives must have been lost to lay this highway? I- 70 is one of the longest highways in the nation and took a full generation to lay. A new path, a new frontier beyond current traditions is the challenge as we truly die to what comes easy in order to overcome the old and set new paths. What new paths do you want to set for your family to overcome?
2. What family culture can you create? Businesses have clear cultures. So do families. What’s your current family culture? Is that culture influencing your family in positive or negative ways? Family cultures of positivity, learning, openness, listening, honesty, affection, responsibility, service, connection, support or togetherness provide true cultures of love. Have you ever heard of a person who grew up in a legalistic family where he wasn’t accepted if he didn’t honor the same religious beliefs, usually as a result of hypocrisy? The culture didn’t produce love, faith or hope, and yet you wonder why that person is depressed and self-destructive. A culture is the environment that ultimately produces the type of people we become. In a book called Covenant Relationships, Keith Intrater discusses the importance of raising children you actually like to be around. In an ideal positive family, parents foster friendships with their adult children, people you enjoy, admire, and can rely on. How can you support the culture in your family?
3. What family values do you want to instill? Do you value work over people? Do you value your reputation more than reality? What values do you want to instill in your children? Their children? Does your family value family? Values such as integrity, hard work, relationships, thinking for yourself, honoring God, or emotional availability. Values determine the heart of our actions as individuals. Chasing money and career at the expense of quality support to family members, especially children, will leave you scratching your head years later. The amount of young people going towards drugs, promiscuity, violence, video game addiction is due to a lack of positive family values is alarming. What values are you reflecting in your actions?
4. What vision do you have for your family? Now is the time to think about legacy and lineage. Is it part of your vision and mission to have a family that loves each other or a family that works hard and serves the community or a family that is educated and contributes to others through knowledge or a business savvy family who can support themselves or a family that honors God and impacts spiritual growth in others? Where is your family headed now? What is a mission that your family can work towards creating? Strong businesses have a clear mission, your family needs one too. I keep a clear vision for my family, it’s this vision that keeps me daily working toward my best self. And, I haven’t had children yet! Your family vision isn’t limited to children, it’s about the whole blood line, extended family and all. What vision would you like to see for your family?
5. What impact do you personally want to contribute? In family systems therapy, when one person changes, the whole family has to change. Good news, it only takes one to change a family’s future. We all get to make personal decisions that lead our families in new directions. Sometimes these directions are so new family status quo doesn’t like it. Tina was making a positive impact on her negative family by growing in gratitude. Her happiness caused her family to make fun of her. Over time, they gradually started adopting positive attitudes around Tina. Tina made a positive impact on her family, despite push back initially received. When we succeed in taking more and more responsibility over our thinking, emotions, choices we will impact family. How can you impact your family’s growth?
Now is the time to set an intention to positively lead your family. As you can tell, I’m very passionate about a restored, productive, purposeful individual self for it's influence on a restored, productive, purposeful family! I hope these questions are thought provoking. Daily life is more productive and worthwhile when a strong – loving family is behind you.