by Ben Glassman
Whether you're married with kids or married without kids - leadership in your family will not only encourage all members to live intentionally but will also bring a level of peace, confidence, and security to the household.
Not all families are perfect, nor is one family unit better than another. Different families do different things together. Families have different values, ideologies, and ways of doing things. However, there's one fault than can utterly derail the unity and bond of a family - whether tangibly seen or not. The effects ripple into kid's lives outside of the family, to the next generation, and so forth.
The way a family is led will change its trajectory - either to destruction or to life. I know many people with families who don't even realize the unintentional impact they are having on their loved ones - this only leads to a lack of true care and love, negative behavior and potentially disunity. Check out these stats on divorce and children of divorce in the U.S.:
- Forty-three percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers.
- Seventy-five percent of children with divorced parents live with their mother.
- Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent's marriage. Of these children, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent's second marriage.
Shocking and unsightly.
Besides the obvious danger of poor leadership in the family leading to separation and divorce, I want to bring to light some other common pitfalls of poor leadership that show up in the family unit. Here's some symptoms of family tension to watch out for>>
A lack of direction and purpose as a family and individuals - allowing for no unifying cause to bring the family together
Complacency and passivity in life, accepting issues and doing nothing to help resolve or improve them - continuing the cycle of brushing things off, moving on, and just waiting for the next time it comes up
A lack of vulnerability and authenticity because of fear of retribution or condemnation - either for lack of following suit or failure to accept and forgive
4. Spouse and children are unhappy or unsatisfied with the family and feel it as a burden more than a safe place
It's always easier in the moment to not put forth the effort to lead your family well. Personally I've experienced these moments and failed to truly lead in intentionality. Here's a story to think about.
About a year and a half ago, I was at a point in my life where I was caught up with the fact that what I was doing(work wise) was more important and valued higher than my wife or family's wellbeing. I was literally at a point where I was saying, "look Meg, right now I need to focus on this and get this done. I don't have time to deal with us right now.".
This behavior actually went on for several months. Simply because it was easy for me in
that moment to consider getting work done as more important because I was the one providing for the family. It was even so bad that at any moment I expected the house to be tidy and food to be ready, just in that moment. I failed to realize that caring for a child all day was a ton of work too, and living to the standards I set were unrealistic - I just couldn't see it.
This mindset made it difficult for me to even see the necessity of leading intentionally. I assumed I was doing what I was supposed to do, and that she needed to do what she was supposed to do. If we both did what we were supposed to do then our family would be great and everyone would be happy.
I was so tied up in my work and getting things done I didn't even want to take the time to focus on my wife, her feelings, and the wellbeing and care of my family. During this, it was hard for my wife to get through to me, I was set on what I thought was right and wouldn't listen or accept the feelings my wife was having.
You can see the symptoms here right? There was no sense of unity, each person was to do their own thing to make the family work. Vulnerability was difficult because I made it hard for her to share how she was feeling and then I was getting upset at her not doing her part.. etc. etc.. It's obvious now, but when you're in it, seeing it is difficult.
So whether you "see" the symptoms in your family dynamics or not, here's why you MUST start NOW leading your family well and 5 simple and practical ways to really establishing a cadence of intentionality.
**If you're wondering, the reason I wanted to write this blog is because I did realize the course of my error. After a lot of thought, prayer, and my wife lovingly speaking truth, I lead my family in a way that denotes all of the following as something I've put into practice.
Reasons and results of the importance of leading your family well:
If your family dynamic isn't healthy, you're probably not healthy either
Promotes positive habits like health, stewardship, learning, etc
Allows for common ground of openly sharing and being vulnerable
Promotes a spirit of unity and closeness around the home
Gives your children a desire to grow, make good decisions, and lead their own life well
FIVE simple and practical ways to establish a cadence of intentionality:
1. Lead by example by living out the values you want your spouse and children to exemplify 2. Create and implement a list of family traditions
3. Teach and inspire your family values, mission, and vision
4. Routinely put forth thoughtful moments or events for each member of your family to feel valued or special
5. Create a family action plan towards growth in all areas of life(physical, relational, emotional, spiritual, financial)
Leading my family in a way that inspires and offers growth, authenticity, unity, and intentionality has been a journey, but one of the biggest blessings one could ask for! Not only is doing so a ton of fun, but experiencing first hand the benefits and rewards of doing so is incredibly worth it.
I encourage you, learn from me, and START NOW.
credit to the stats:
Posted on Oct 30, 2012 12:00am PDT. "32 Shocking Divorce Statistics - McKinley Irvin." Washington Divorce & Family Lawyer. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <https://www.mckinleyirvin.com/Family-Law-Blog/2012/October/32-Shocking-Divorce- Statistics.aspx>.