|Nothing quite like a sausage sizzle in the fresh country air!|
Last week we trekked out to a little country town called Burra for a Family Day run by Growing Families International. It was a day of fun and games for the kids, and seminars for the parents. This year's theme was Family Identity. It was such a rejuvenating day out in the fresh country air, meeting like-minded parents and having *time* to sit down and listen to some inspiring and encouraging speakers. A good opportunity for Mark and I to focus together as parents on our own family identity. We discussed and thought about topics like - What is our family identity, what do we want it to be, what do we want to be known for, how do we want our children to feel about their family, and of course - how do we work together to instill the values and characteristics we desire into our home?
If you are wondering what Family Identity means, start off by imagining how the neighbours would describe your family to others (sporty? loves to road trip? lots of visitors? take family walks every night? always screaming?!). Then mix in things like your family history and heritage, your family traditions and activities, hobbies, priorities, the people in your life, the ways your family spends its time, money and energy, etc and you have a sense of your family identity. The core of your identity is of course your family values and beliefs.
One of the quotes of the day that really hit home was 'peer pressure is only as strong as family identity is weak'. Part of what girds children up to face the pressures of the teen years and beyond is a strong sense of belonging in their family, a deep understanding of their identity, and a safe and nurturing place to call home. That is what we want for our children! Well, doesn't every parent?!
Mark and I just loved being encouraged to think through all those questions, recognising the strengths and struggles in our family and also working out how we can introduce other important values. We are family, and we want our nest to be a place of love, support, nurturing and training up for the adventures of life to come. We were encouraged to come up with a family motto (good ol' cheesy fun!) and we chose the words that are currently stenciled across our entry way. It kind of lays out our priorities and declares the things that really matter to our little tribe, what we value...
Yup, for now we declare this our family motto!
Family identity is why we try to instill various rich (and/or quirky!) family traditions into our home. They are ties that bind us together, memories that layer together through the years to tell our children more about what matters in our home - and how much they matter to us. Our faith is core to our family and fundamentally informs the way we raise our children. Part of what also defines our family, we have come to see, is also opening up our home and lives to the people around us. We all learn and grow together.
Well, I am sick today so I am not sure if I have written this very clearly as my head is foggy (sorry!), but I just wanted to jot down some lingering thoughts and ideas about the day. I know our Family Identity is something that will evolve over the years as our family grows, as interests wane or rejuvenate, and as we change course at times due to circumstances or need. But I think most of all, when it comes to Family Identity, I want our family to know and be known for recognising how richly God has blessed us by putting our little Five together. How purposefully He has done so, for our utmost good.
And so we live, love, laugh (and even cry!) together... in thankfulness.
A few more shots from our day out...
|'let's hold hands and run together' she said|
|Laughs with Daddy during break time|
|Spending the day snuggling my baby while listening to good talks!|