January 3, 2011

Family Theme 2011 . . .

For some time now there has been a level of discord in our home amongst the children that has left me feeling quite disheartened and disappointed. The quarreling, tattling, devious plotting, bullying and teasing has reached such a fever pitch that we can barely drive to church without blindfolding and gagging the kids so they don’t cast one crusty look or spew one nasty word in each other’s directions. It’s a bit ridiculous.

I want my children to enjoy being together.  I want them to feel like they have friends in their siblings.  I want them to know that they are safe in our house – safe from the negativity that is found everywhere else.  And currently, it just isn’t happening.

Enter our family theme for the year:

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We began by sharing an experience from the life of the Jesus Christ documented in the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee in a ship at night when a great storm arises. As Jesus sleeps the disciples worry for their safety. They awaken him with a plea for help. Jesus commands the sea “Peace, Be Still” and the storm ceases and the sea is made calm.

We asked our kids to imagine what it must have felt like to be a disciple on that ship during the storm – they answered with chaotic, frightening, unsafe, sad. Next we asked them to imagine what it was like when Jesus calmed the storm – they thought it would be calm, happy, safe and a relief.

Obviously, the comparison isn’t a hard one to make.  Our home is the ship.  The way we treat each other can either be a storm or a calm and those associated feelings the kids listed accompany the mood in our home.

After reading several scriptures we used ideas from God to create a plan that will bring peace back into our home. Because really, His ideas are perfect. {These ideas were found in a talk by M. Russell Ballard given in 2002} Here’s our plan:

1. Agree With Thine Adversary {Matt. 5:25}. Translation: Stop looking for reasons to fight with each other and look for more reasons to be agreeable.

2. Love Your Enemies {Matt. 5:44}. Translation: Be nice to your siblings even if they are not nice to you.  Have no excuses for your bad behavior just because you don’t like someone.

3. Judge Not {Matt. 7:1}. Translation: Do not try to be the mom or dad of this house.  You already have parents! Don’t tattle to us about what everyone else is doing wrong.

4. Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself {Matt. 22:39}. Translation: Think about the way you want to be treated {wait, you already do that}. Now treat others the way you want to be treated.

5. Condemn Not {Luke 6:37}. Translation: You don’t have the right to sentence or punish each other. You don’t get to physically, emotionally or verbally harm others.

6. Forgive {Luke 6:37}.Translation: We’re not going to be perfect at this.  We are going to make mistakes.  But if we’re understanding and forgive one another, we can continue to try to create a more peaceful home. Be willing to admit mistakes and apologize.  Be willing to forgive.

7. Love one another {John 13:34}. Translation: When we love others, it shows in the way we treat them. We want our house to be filled with love instead of anger.

So, there it is.  The kids seemed a little put off by the idea of having to work at being nicer to one another, but that was to be expected.  The Hubby and I are committed to making this home and family more peaceful. We want nothing more than to Be At Peace.

How about you? Do you have a family theme for the year?

10 comments:

Rebecca J said...

Thank you for sharing your family theme and the specifics that go along with it. I will definitely be borrowing some of your ideas! Our family theme is found in the New Testament Galatians 5:22-23--"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." This month we are focusing on love, next month joy and so on. The hope is by the end of September we will have more fully incorporated the nine fruits of the Spirit into our personal and family lives. We'll see how it goes. I am recognizing that even if I don't see immediate results, the things we teach our children make an impact in their lives and will be manifest at times when we may just be surprised! Thank you for sharing your blog and thank you for your honesty in your posts. I love that you keep it real and don't put up any facades...

MelancholySmile said...

This is brilliant! We've never had a family theme, but I may just steal this idea....

Kasey said...

Love it! Great theme!

Apis Melliflora said...

We do not have a family theme either. It's the kind of thing where I'm the only enthusiast. But I often mention your family's theme throughout the year and I've noticed there is a bit of a trickle down effect.

I look forward to hearing about how the theme unfolds over the course of the year.

squeezeme said...

Beautiful. Our theme this year is "Listening." Specifically listening to the spirit of God. We desire that each family member have an experience where they feel and recognize the holy spirit of God. We know this will bless and direct their actions in life.

Stacey Gerlach Moe said...

That is a great theme, Sam. Keep us posted on how it goes!

christy said...

Your description of the kid behavior is spot on with our household. Constant fighting, teasing, etc. It sounded all too familiar (and made me happy a little that it's not just our home that has the issue). I love the theme you chose and may need to steal it for ours as well. Such a great idea.

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing the theme. I might have to start a theme for Christina and I. High school is challanging and I think a family theme might be helpful. Your the best.

Tracie said...

Fabulous!!! But I expected nothing less from you! Nothing like having the kids home for Christmas break to reinforce the need for such a theme!

Aiketa said...

In my family we don't have family theme neither... but probably is the best way to try to improve on our lives, because you are all trying at once.
I know this is not important here but, I just love the frame and the scrabble letters you created for the theme. As always, detailed and with awesome taste.