Pam Farrel and her husband are "relationship specialists" with loads of helpful resources. In this Parenting UPGRADE, she shares one of the fun activities her family shared that helped to shape their home.
"When our son, Brock, was a baby, Bill was a youth pastor and one day I was praying for our son," Pam said. "I prayed, 'Lord, it seems that some kids at 18 soar and succeed; and others stumble and fall. What’s the difference?"
"Then I began to list the traits, qualities and skills of successful kids and families. Out of that day, came many of our own family traditions."
Family traditions are key, I (Dawn) believe to building strong relationships in the home. We can use creativity and shared experiences in many positive ways.
Pam continues ...
Let me share through the lens of an important day in our family:
For our twenty fifth wedding anniversary, we gave our sons a tie tac with a family moniker (or crest) Bill and I designed. We wanted the boys to have an heirloom that could be passed down from generation to generation that would symbolize the values the Farrel family stands for. In 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, we describe and show a picture of our crest and how to design your own.
Upgrade Idea #1: Designing a crest is a family-fun holiday activity too! (See graphic, above.)
So let’s see if I can use words to aptly capture our crest:
It is a circle and inside are three L’s down the center that stand for Learner, Leader, Love God. These are the three core values we prayed (since before they were born) that our kids hold on to. We want our sons to be known as:
Learners. Those who want to compete in life so they are willing to do the hard work to learn and become excellent.
Leaders: In their sphere of influence using their own unique leadership style we desire they be difference makers that lead rather than follow the crowd.
Love God: We want them to own their own faith and walk out their own personal relationship with God.
Each year from the time our oldest was four, we have had a “Learner and Leader” Day. That’s the day we negotiate privileges and responsibilities, select one leadership trait to focus on for each son each year and we give a gift that applauds the uniqueness (passion, bent, calling, platform) we see God building in each of their lives. (We have a Learner Leader privileges and responsibilities list in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make too because often we parents forget kids CAN do more around the house than you might think!)
Also in the circle is a cross with the star rising from it represents that we want them to seek God’s vision for their life. We want the source of all their hopes, dreams and desires to come from God’s heart. We believe if a child, tween or teen develops a vibrant relationship with God, it will be easier for him or her to sense where God what life path God created for them to walk.
The two interlocking hearts represent integrity and commitment. When a Farrel says something we want it to be truth and we want to be known as a family that keeps all of our commitments, especially the marriage covenant.
The verse inscribed on the back of the tie tac, or what is framed under the crest framed that hangs in our home is the phrase we used as the motto by which we raised our sons: Those who honor God, God honors.” (1 Sam 2:30 paraphrased)
Upgrade Idea #2: Select a verse for YOUR family motto.
Each fall for over 20 plus years we held a Learner and Leader Day. (that includes a fun family activity!) On that day we’d also complete the Learner and Leader contract for each child, choose one verse to pray over his life for the year, and one leadership trait to focus on and equip that child to successful possess by year’s end. On the contract are privileges and responsibilities.
Upgrade Idea #3: Select a fun family day to instill your family values.
We pray about what trait to focus on for each child, then we select a “learner and Leader” gift for each child. The gift is 3 things:
- Personal: We thought of each child’s needs and unique strengths.
- Practical: Something that child would need any way so it is part of the family budget.
- Prophetic: The gift encourages the promise of potential of that child’s giftedness and calling
We’d also review our family motto and “moniker” (or crest) on Learner and Leader Day—a simple reminder of “This is what the Farrels stand for!”
Upgrade Idea #4: Select a "Learn and Leader gif" for each child.
If you asked us - “What one parenting decision are you glad you made?” - this one would be at the top. Having a family moniker (crest) and family motto and those yearly Learn and Leader Days helped our sons to have an inner compass to guide them. And the fruit is sweet.
Now, over 20 years later, our three sons are all adults and they all walk with Jesus and serve God. We now have grandchildren they are having their own “learn and leader” days! And our sons and their wives have their own family missions, mottos, and monikers! Passing the baton of faith!
Did Pam get your thoughts rolling about some unique features that might be in your own family crest? Your own "Learn and Leader" days?
Note: This post is adapted from 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. (This book and many other parenting helps and resources can be found at www.Love-wise.com). To fully implement a "Learner and Leader Day," the Farrels recommend readers purchase: 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make book and the 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make 1 session audio CD.
Pam Farrel is a challenger, cheerleader and coach. With her husband Bill, the Farrels are international speakers, and authors of over 35 books including best-selling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti, Woman of Influence, 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, 10 Secrets to Living Smart, Savvy and Strong, and her newest, Becoming a Brave New Woman. The Farrels, married 33 years, are relationship specialists who help people become “Love-Wise ." These San Diegans are parents to three children—two married sons—and three grandchildren.