Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Importance of Family Identity

When I was a kid, I remember there was a family who LOVED the Boston Celtics. We lived in LA, so this was not the norm. They all wore green on game days and had Larry Bird posters and jerseys hanging on their family room walls. To be part of their family, was to be a Celtics fan.

I still love it when I meet a family and can see who they are  right away.

I often say this phrase to my children... This is who we are as a family or  That is not who we are as a family. 

I do it to create an identity for our family. I want them to know who we are, what we stand for and where they come from. I Googled family identity and it turns out I am not the first person to think about the concept. Studies show that kids who have a strong family identity do better academically and socially.

It makes sense though. Think about all the kids who are just looking for a place to identify. Clubs, sports, music, dance, church, peers and in the worst case scenario- gangs.
Shouldn't they identify first with their family?
How do you create or strengthen a family identity?

We are the family who...             (complete that sentence)

Mine would be—

We are the family who—loves the Lord, loves baseball, goes to church, sits down to dinner together, goes to get ice cream on special occasions, snow skis, plays on the lake, likes to explore the outdoors, reads, roots for the Dodgers, does as much as we can TOGETHER. 

Looking at the list, it is an obvious amalgamation of mine and Hottie Husband's shared and individual values.  And it also has some of our kids individual values added in too.

Of course, there are things I would like to add and it might be fun to open end that sentence with the kids and hear their response.

Traditions, things unique to a family (even if it is simply going to get ice cream together every Sunday night or walking together to the Farmer's market or having a movie night each week or listening to a certain music artist on road trips) helps kids feel connected and part of something bigger than themselves.

It gives them a sense of belonging and helps them rely on family as their constant.

What is your family identity or
what would you like it to be?

From another angle, we could also be known as the family who-  has ALL those boys, initiates every new car with vomit, yells across playgrounds and other large areas to herd said boys,  leaves nerf darts and legos in our wake, yells out our front door to get the dog to come back, takes road trips during insane weather.

P.S. I have these handy dandy little gadgets down below now. If you want to share this post on twitter or FB, just click on the the little links below. xo


Rachel said...

Such a neat way to think about it... I love that idea!

spinney said...

I struggle with this too! I grew up in a town where everyone except us had a strong religious leaning We alone existed in a cultural background. (Or so it seemed.)
Luckily my own hottie husband is a force unto himself. So we are the family that drinks a lot of espresso and skis every possible chance. We're the ones without a TV, who all cook together.


JDaniel4's Mom said...

I want to be a family that loves God and serves others. Also one that eats pizza on holidays that mom doesn't want to cook for.

Tasha said...

Growing up, I definitely don't think we had a family identity. I honestly can't think of anything about my family that could define us in the way you are describing. The only real tradition I can think of that was in the least bit enjoyable was having the leprechauns come visit (like Santa or the Easter Bunny might) on St. Patrick's Day. I did join the band in middle school and had an identity with them.

Now that I'm married, I would say our identity is that of gamers, academics, or nerds. We will have to see if our kids share these same passions once we have some.

[Stopping by from SITS]

Tana Adams said...

Your family sounds an awful lot like mine, right down to the hottie husband. ;) I make sure we stay close knit. That's the way I like it.

Rebekah said...

We are the family who: Loves God first and then eachother, we love traveling and adventure, we love cooking good food, we shoot guns and go hunting and fishing, we snowboard whenever we can, we ice skate, we love to run, but most of all we love being together, we are just two for now but are excited to have a family sometime in the future.
I enjoy your blog very much keep writing.

donahugh43 said...

Thank goodness for road trips.