Recently at a family camp (by Growing Families) we heard an encouragement from Brian Ellis, from Character First (Australia), on family identity. He led the whole conference contingent in determining 8 character traits that each individual family wanted to charactise their family.
Let’s back track…
Character traits are the outworking of a value that determines your responses to people and situations. Character First has identified 49 such traits (pdf file).
Family identity is simply put as the values and actions that give your family uniqueness. Just as our individual face gives us as individuals an identity, our family as a whole can be identified by what we look like. What we look like is boing to be based on our beliefs and how we live out those beliefs.
Do you know what identifies your family as unique? What do people in your church understand as consistent with you, what do people down the street, in your community see about your family? They may know you as a Christian family – that is a part of your identity – and hopefully a strong part! They may know you as a homeschool family, as a community involved family, as a creative family, friendly family…. What marks your family as unique?
The challenge at the conference was to define 6-8 specific character traits that we wanted as a family, to be our mark.
It was an excellent activity, especially with older children because they could contribute from their observations. Our kids said, “Dad this trait is really important to you – it has to be there!” or they said, “We always think this way/act this way and that is this character trait”. They could interact with the idea and look at our family and see where our strong points where, or where our heart lay. It was an excellent time. With a younger family it was an opportunity to share Dad and Mum’s heart with the children (though even young children can have insight into these things – from the mouth of babes etc!).
It is often said that Character is who you are when no-one is watching – and that is true. But people do see our character as well. It is our character that goes before us – our reputation. What reputation do you want for your family? You can work towards that today.