Last November 8, I gave a talk on “What is your Family Brand?” for the International Family Fair. Surrounded by families from different cultural backgrounds, the topic on “family culture” was received with a lot of nodding heads and resonating acknowledgements.
So what is this topic about? Why such a concept of a “family brand”?
Being a multicultural family has its many ups and downs. I so love the letter penned by Sundae Schneider-Bean on “A love letter every international couple needs to read” and this gives a glimpse of what couples go through in such a multicultural union. However, another important aspect that I have emphasized on my talk is how the family is formed within such multicultural partnerships. What is it that families with multicultural backgrounds adapt, blend or integrate into their family?
Perhaps one might wonder, but what if we aren't a multicultural family? does that mean we don't have a family culture?
On the contrary, every family has its unique family culture.
So what is exactly a family culture?
In the Art of Manliness article Fathering with Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture, Brett McKaye emphasized on understanding the 3 pillars of the family culture , norms, traditions and values, that make each family unique. He strongly advocates for developing a family culture roadmap that is firmly rooted to parenting with intentionality.
Aside from the suggestions given by Brett on his article, I would also like to use reflective questions as part of the process in understanding the family culture. Questions such as:
- What are your goals or vision for your family?”
- How do you spend time as a family? What does your family do on a day to day basis?
- What do you hold in high esteem/ what do you value?
- What traditions have you carried forward from your parents or grandparents?
- What traditions are you leaving behind?
- What new traditions have you started?
- How does your religious orientation or connection to the faith community influence your family?
- What are the key things your family strives for or would like to accomplish?
- What are the activities that you do as a family that make you fulfilled?
- “How would you like each family member to feel?” (this I am basing on the Desire Mapping strategies presented by Danielle LaPorte)
“No success in life compensates for failure in the home. Families require leadership in the same way businesses require leadership.”
Warren Rustand, Building a Culture of Greatness
At the start of the workshop I asked parents to reflect on these words by Warren Rustand. Seldom do we hear about parents being taught “leadership” roles. But for me parenting with intentionality is a start in changing the paradigm on parenting roles. In as much as we put effort in managing our work life, we also need to put as much effort in managing and learning as parents.
One’s family culture is a picture of what is held in high esteem in the family. It shows what the family is working on, where they are leaning on and where they are heading. A family brand spells the difference between parenting by default and parenting with intent. By making one’s family brand evident, one gets to ask the questions:
How do we “hear” our family culture in our family from the words that come out of our lips and the conversations that we make?
How do we see our family culture in our family from the activities that we do, the games that we play, the things that we fill our home with?
And lastly, how do we “feel” our family culture from the feelings that we would like to invoke in each member?
Interested to know more about your family culture?
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