When trouble comes, will your house stand strong?
Every household is going to face difficulty at some point. It may be a job loss, a relationship crumbling, sickness, or financial stress. It may be as tragic as death or as simple as annoying neighbors. Whatever the problem is, it rattles your peaceful home and can cause irreparable damage if the family is not strong.
Country music singer Maren Morris sings a song called The Bones which says that if the bones of a house–in this case of a relationship–are solid, it can withstand a lot and will stay standing even through tough times.
When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter,
Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter…The house don’t fall when the bones are good.
What are the bones that keep a home from falling apart when troubles and hard times come–and they WILL? Because if those “bones” are strong and in place, then your house has a better chance of standing strong.
I was raised in a family of six children, and then we raised three of our own. Our families were not perfect. There have been lots of disappointments, hurts, illnesses, deaths, and financial hardships, but I’ve seen enough to know that when the “bones” of a family are strong, then the house will still stand. What are the “bones” that will keep your family together through the ups and downs of life?
Bone #1 Core Values
Core values are timeless virtues and life skills that you want your kids to have. Values can’t just be what you say, but rather you must be a walking, talking, feeling, acting, living expression of your family-value culture.
If you haven’t established core values for your family, here’s a simple recipe: As a family, or as a couple, come up with 5 value words that are what you want your home to stand on. An example might be: faith, family, compassion, leadership, and honesty.
Then, make each word into a value statement. For instance, if one of your core value words is “family,” you could say, “We will seek opportunities to strengthen our extended and immediate family bonds.”
Have the values on display in your home, talk about them whenever you can. Go over them in a family meeting.
Talking to your children about values can occur can in a spontaneous or structured way. Your family’s daily life is filled with value lessons waiting to be taught. Having your antenna up for these opportunities allows you to spot them immediately and use them to teach your children about values.
Bone #2 Healthy Communication
Healthy communication has to start at the top, with parents taking time to get on the same page and to deepen their understanding of each other.
From there, it trickles down to the family and is the key to keeping a family emotionally healthy.
For instance, did you ever stop to think about the fact that interactions between parents and their children are more often about the way in which the parent responds than about the child’s behavior? What you say and how you communicate will either resolve the problem or escalate it.
As you ponder good communication, ask yourself a few questions:
What if you were to try and talk to your kids with the same respect you give when you talk with your friends or work colleagues?
What if you were prepared to step out of the “control seat” and into the “support seat” with your child as they become teens?
What if you were to try and guide them with guidance rather than dictate and tell them what to do?
If you feel your family could use some help in learning to communicate better, please don’t put it off. Healthy communication is a “bone” that must be strong for a house to survive.
Bone #3 Laughter
A cheerful heart is good medicine.* Not only does the Bible say that, but modern medicine also supports the claim that laughter is often the best medicine. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which promote an overall sense of well-being and temporary pain relief.
Science supports it: laughter is good for the body AND soul. And it’s also good for your family. Laughter breaks down walls, strengthens bonds, and relieves stress.
Look for ways to weave laughter into your home. Plan for it by doing something fun every day or be willing to get silly with your kids often.
Try not to take things so seriously. If your child does something funny and you feel like maybe you shouldn’t laugh, go ahead and chuckle. Lightening up does wonders for the spirit.
It is never too late to start strengthening the bones of your home. Those bones are more important that what neighborhood you live in or whether your house has the latest updated kitchen. The bones will be what holds your family together even when they are eventually all apart, living their own lives.
If you’d like to strengthen your family’s “bones,” I have a toolbelt that will get you started. Schedule a free intro call here.