“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Many men start creating a family without taking time to building some “family laws” that everyone is expected to follow. As such, a lot of the early years of a marriage and raising children is filled with unnecessary stress as everyone’s expectations are askew.
This can be easily solved by creating a list of expectations, or commandments, that everyone in the family are to follow. Putting pencil to paper on this, however, can be a bit daunting so I’m going to try to provide some guidance on creating your own family’s 10 Commandments.
Involve the Entire Family
Trying to lay down the law your family will follow without any input from your wife will breed contempt. Involving her in the process, even if she doesn’t offer up much herself, will make the medicine go down easier, so to speak and help ensure her commitment to the family rules.
The same holds true for your children. Sitting them down and requesting their input will make them feel like part of the process and they will develop a sense of pride and duty to following the rules.
As the man of the house, your job is to lead. Part of leading is requesting input from your team (family in this case). Ultimately, you may make the final decision, but requesting their feedback promotes respect in your decision-making and show them that you care about their thoughts and feelings. It’s the difference between dominant and domineering.
Focus Them Around Your Core Values
Before setting your family down to hash out your list of rules, take some time to determine what values you want to promote. Ideally, these rules will promote values such as self-reliance, loyalty and compassion to other family members, and the building up and maintenance of the family and household.
Some examples might be:
- I will do my part keeping our home clean and orderly.
- I will do for myself what I can before asking for help.
- My family comes first.
This brings us to our next point…
Keep Them Concise
Your commandments can be as detailed or general as you wish, but I suggest creating a balance between the two extremes to allow some level of flexibility. Let’s take the first example rule from above and take them to the extremes to help illustrate this:
- General: “The house shall remain clean” – Okay…who’s cleaning the house?
- Detailed: “Mom will do the laundry and dishes. Dad will mow the lawn and take out the trash. Susie will pick up the toys. Johnny will sweep the floors…” – Kind of ruins the point of a concise list of family commandments and leave little leeway to switch things around.
Work on keeping each family rule balanced between the two extremes to help avoid confusion as well as allowing for flexibility.
Post Them Up
After your family has created and agreed up your family commandments, print them out and put them up somewhere where everyone will see it. Your family commandments can be as simple as a sheet of paper on the fridge, but for maximum effect, make it a big production and hang it somewhere prominent.
If you have any woodworking skills, you might engrave your commandments on a large piece of wood or you can take the more traditional route and inscribe them on stone tablets.
What commandment suggestions can you think of? Leave them down below in the comments section.