Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jim Burns’s book, The 10 Building Blocks for a Solid Family, (Regal Books, 2010).
There are some basic principles that will help you create a family which each member can grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally which will help you build the healthy, happy family God wants you to enjoy. Here 7 ways to build healthy and happy family.
1) Invigorate and Energize your family’s spiritual growth. Your greatest calling in life is to leave a spiritual legacy for your kids. So make your relationship with God through Christ your top priority. Grow closer to Christ individually and as a couple with your spouse. Pray for and with your kids in a regular family devotional time, write a family constitution that describes your family’s values, and talk about God often as you go through your everyday activities together.
2) Remember that the best things in life aren’t necessarily things. Healthy stewardship and sound financial decisions produce positive family priorities. Follow a budget to live below your means, avoid debt, tithe and give in other generous ways, and save regularly. Modeling these healthy financial practices will teach your kids valuable practical and spiritual lessons.
3) Communicate and understand each other well. Positive communication is the language of love for your kids. Make a habit of listening carefully to your kids whenever they share their thoughts and feelings with you. Also figure out what other ways you can best express your love for your kids in ways that each of them will receive well. Apologize them to them when you’ve made a parenting mistake. Allow the conflicts you experience with your spouse and kids to be a path to deeper communication by helping you all understand each other better and work as a team to solve problems.
4) Play together as this increase the bond. There is nothing like play to bring about family togetherness. Make time for vacations together, have fun at home, go on frequent outings (from getting ice cream out to taking music or sports lessons together), share holiday traditions, enjoy humor together, and work on service projects together. Sharing playful experiences will build family memories that will bond you all in powerful ways.
5) Love your spouse. If you’re married, work on your marriage regularly and invest in it through activities like frequent dates, since a loving marriage brings hope and security to your kids. If you’re a single parent, build relationships with others at your church who care about your kids and are willing to invest in their lives.
6) Build healthy morals and values. The decisions that kids make today will often affect them for the rest of their lives. Study the culture so you can understand what cultural influences currently pose a danger to your kids spiritually. Pray for God’s help to teach biblical values and morals to your kids in ways they can best learn. Talk openly and honestly with your kids about sex, alcohol, and other drugs from when they’re young, all the way through their teen years, answering their questions and discussing issues in age-appropriate ways. Encourage them to commit to living a lifestyle of purity, including honoring God with their bodies, renewing their minds for good, turning their eyes and ears away from what’s worthless, and guarding their hearts above all else. Get to know what your kids watch on TV and in the movies, what websites they visit, what music they listen to, and what video games they play. Watch and listen together with them as often as possible, and talk with them about the content to help them learn to think critically about it. Restrict their access to vulgar media content.
7) Discipline with consistency. When you clearly express expectations and consistently follow through, you’ll produce responsible kids. Keep in mind that consistent discipline takes lots of time and energy. Ask God to give you the strength you need to devote the necessary time and energy rather than taking the easy way out when you’re tired and having your kids fail to learn important lessons. Remember the Bible’s promise that if you train your kids in the way they should go, when they’re old they won’t depart from it. Set and clearly communicate healthy boundaries about doing homework and chores, telling the truth, talking to you respectfully, and a myriad of other issues – and follow through with consequences when your kids make poor choices. Help your kids decide what consequences they should get for various infractions. Stay calm – not angry – when you’re disciplining them, refrain from nagging, choose your battles wisely, and show empathy. Your willingness to be the parent they need – not merely a friend – will give them security and confidence.
Adapted from Crosswalk and The 10 Building Blocks for a Solid Family, copyright 2010 by Jim Burns. Published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.