Reprinted from ReadyAimLife
I am Rosemary’s granddaughter, the spitting image of my father, and when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan. Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy, But I’ve got friends that love me And they know just where I stand. It’s all a part of me, and that’s who I am! – Jessica Andrews » Who I Am
I know the sentiment of the song above is actually feminine in nature but the message of a life lived in the context of family is equally a masculine message. In this article, we are continuing our journey down the path of helping you to live a meaningful and rewarding experience in the key areas of life. At RAL we call that LIVING LARGE. Last time, we chatted about the need to develop a life purpose statement that would infuse each area of your journey. I hope you have been working on that because today we are tackling the area of family and your life purpose statement should giving direction to the way you live out your family life.
None of us grow up with the intention of being a terrible son, a so-so uncle or a mediocre dad. It just kind of happens if you are not careful. Many men get so focused on areas of work and personal interest that we have a tendency to drift in the area of family. We “I-will-play-with-you-later” our way through our children’s childhood and by the time we begin to focus on them, they have figured out ways to live life without us. Harry Chapin had some great insight in his classic song Cat’s in the Cradle. But, this isn’t a discussion of our role as parent only (as important as that role is). The question before us today is how are you (and I) living out all our roles as a family man. We have included some specific thing for you to examine.
Evaluate and Live Out All Your Family Roles
As a man I find myself playing a variety of roles. I am son. I am son-in-law. I am husband. I am dad. I am brother. I am brother-in-law. I am uncle. I am nephew. I am cousin. Before my grandparents died I was grandson and some day I will be grandfather. I did a quick inventory of my family members realized that I am related to over 75+ people. Who I am as a person has been shaped by the relationships that I find myself in- especially my family. If you were to give yourself a report card on each of your roles what would you score? Be careful this is a convicting exercise.
HOW DID YOU DO? HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE?
Identify and Live Out Your Family Values
A few years ago, everywhere I turned around there seemed to be someone talking about the need to capture your family values and post them in your home somewhere. Ours is handwritten on a poster board in the hallway (someday we may make it fancy). The idea probably sources from an American Corporate culture that tries to capture the mission and values of a company to keep everyone moving in the same direction. No matter the source the idea has merit in keeping a family moving in a good direction as well. Most children grow up with no formal sense of what they should be about. I have included a rough copy of our family values that use our last name as a guide (I wish that had been my idea, but I stole it from the JACKSONS). Who is a Howington? See our value chart below.
H- Help Each Other
O- Obey God From A Motivation Of Love
W- Work Hard, Play Hard And Rest Hard
I- Integrity Focused (Do The Right Thing When No One Is Watching)
N- Njoy Life (We Have Fun)
G- Get Better
T- Teach Others (Invest In Others)
O- Obey Authorities With Respect
N- Never Give Up
S- Seek A Great Reward (Eternal Perspective)
WHAT DOES YOU FAMILY VALUE? ARE YOU LIVING THESE VALUES OUT?
There is much more that can be said about living large as a family man but for now let me leave you with an image. When I was a kid and my grandmother was alive my family used to have family reunions on my mother’s side. My mom was the fifth of five Sasser girls. We would have a big potluck dinner and gather from all over the place. Whether your family name had been change because of marriage (as all the Sasser Girls had) we knew that we shared a Sasser legacy. When you walked into the room you knew that you were among family. The Watsons, the Faulkners, the Ashcrafts, the McBays and the Howingtons all had once been Sassers. And no matter how long it had been since we had seen each other we were family. As the sisters age and their children and grandchildren spread to the winds our family like so many others have begun to drift apart. We don’t gather anymore and to our shame we are losing an integral part of who we are. When the sisters are all gone the concept of being in the Sasser family will be a distant memory to some of us and not even a passing thought to the young ones. Sad, but true!
Our counsel to you (and to ourselves) is that family is too important to allow to drift away. Family is more than the few who live under your roof. Whether you live in a small family or reside in a mega family decide today to maximize your relationships while you still can. If you find yourself alone then live in such a way that those who have gone before you would be proud. Dare to be a family man! Dare to LIVE LARGE! Maybe I need to send out the invitation to the next Sasser reunion. Once a Sasser, always a Sasser!