One step at a time

Creating an enjoyable journey for myself and my family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Building a Functional Family

I've spent the past 9 weeks with my family of four living in my parents home in Seattle. I'm actually sleeping in the room I grew up in. Yikes, right? This living arrangement just screams, "Deal with your unfinished business Linds!" I now reside within a one-mile radius of all three of my brothers and their respective families. I do not have any employment outside of the home for the first time since I was 15. So as you might imagine, FAMILY has been on my mind a lot lately.

There is no such thing as a perfect family, but functional is a worthy goal. I've stumbled upon a resource that I think might give me some guideposts about how to build a functional family. It's a free online course available through the Independent Study department at BYU. It's called Family Life 72: Building a Functional Family. Here is the URL where the course can be found:

I took the first lesson tonight, it shared an overview of the 12 Characteristics of a Functional Family. Some of my favorites were:

1. There is an inviting, comfortable, loving atmosphere in the home and family.
2. Parents offer their children all their love and support without worrying too much about the outcomes of their parenting.
5. Parents understand that the family is the best place to address basic human needs.
6. In functional families, relationships are of supreme importance.
8. Functional parents have clearly defined roles and responsibilities that they mutually agree upon.
9. Functional parents exhibit strong and confident leadership and are passionate about their responsibilities as parents.
11. Functional families like to play and have fun together!

Just the first lesson gave me lots of things to think about. I finished the first lesson thinking most about how much I love my family; Adam, Mia and Teryn. It reminded me what an important task parenting is. It reminded me that relationships need to be a priority every day, which requires intentional effort. It also reminded me that everyone is part of a family, and chances are any and all of those family relationships could be improved.

"The functional family is a place where people feel like they can grow and learn from their mistakes. There is love and unity among family members. There is not a lot of criticism in the atmosphere of the home. Family members take time for each other and offer support and guidance to each other. The parents care about the family and make its well-being their top priority in life. The parents teach the children and set a good example for them to follow." ---Family Life 72, Lesson 1

No person, or family is perfect. When it comes to family there is always room for improvement.

A Christian pastor , Jon Acuff, made a recent blog post about spending quality time with our families and I thought he hit the nail on the head, he said, "The challenge is to take the time at home and invest it, do something to provide value with that time. Turn off the phone, the tv, and spend time with your spouse, spend time with your kids. Be intentional about letting them know that when you are home, they are the most important thing at that moment. It’s not enough just to say they are the most important thing in your life, let them know by your actions and how you invest your time."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I admit that I have been addicted to doing my entire life. Do the dishes, do the laundry, do the degree, do the career ladder, do the assignments, do the marriage, do the kids, do the extended family time...there were always a million things to do and only 24 hours in a day! Being here in Seattle instead of Japan has given me a lot of time to stop doing. Don't get me wrong I have every opportunity to be just as busy, but I am choosing not to. Letting your life get overrun with to-do lists is so easy. I've found that it is much more challenging not to do everything.

Lately a certain scripture keeps crossing my path, Psalm 46:10 which says, "Be still and know that I am God."

I'm finally getting it. It's not all up to me. I need to slow down. I need to listen. I need to let go.

It's been two months and our visas have still not arrived. We don't know when they will. We do know they will and that when they do, we will go back to Japan. During our two months here we have had many invaluable lessons and feels good knowing it's not all up to me.