We’ve been working on blending our family, which is no simple task. One central idea that seems to help is to see our family as a team. I came across this idea in a book by Jefferson Bethke called Take Back Your Family: From the Tyrants of Burnout, Busyness, Individualism, and the Nuclear Ideal — yes, the title alone got my attention. The author makes a solid argument for switching from individualism in our families to a collective whole.
For our family, it means that we work together on common projects. It’s more than chores, though each has their own job (Zac, take out the garbage… Carter, load the dishwasher… etc.) We work together toward short-term and long-term goals. Short term goals include having dinner together most nights, where some people are cooking certain things, others are setting the table, and all of us work together to clean up afterwards. Long term goals include setting up something in the house for all of us to enjoy, or thinking through job or college ideas for each other. A day together at Six Flags, for example, falls somewhere between short and long term.
As I write this, everyone is mostly doing their own thing, which is necessary. I don’t really feel like playing Terraria or Minecraft, so I’ll leave that to them. However, we’ll get around the dinner table in a little while and share a meal. Meals together are really important for setting our family culture. They also give a place to talk about whatever comes up — even (gulp) politics.
Dinners together set culture. Breakfasts together set the trajectory of the day. We have a checklist of things we’re working on and looking forward to. One of the highlights of developing our team has been working together on a house remodel, which really helped pull us together.
We’re a long way from the ideal, but the basic shape is, well, taking shape. We still need to work on vision. We have to figure out how to help each other with individual projects. With Christ at the center, we are definitely on the right track.