Take a second to reflect with me… What’s your family like? What’s great about your family? What’s unique and special about them? Family can mean many different things. For some it includes cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins and great grandmothers. For others it is a tight nuclear group of 3-4 people. What is family for you?
I wrote about Jamie Oliver’s Dream School last week. It is a school where failing students get to learn from some of the most inspiring teachers in the world: cooking lessons with Jamie Oliver, poetry with rapper Tinchey Stryder, drama with Simon Callow, photography with Rankin. Visit Dream School to watch some clips from the show.
This got me thinking. What if you got to create your dream family? What if family life was as good as it could be? What would that be like for you? We’re always dreaming about things that we want – start a business, write a book, become an actor, buy a new car, go on vacation, find the perfect spouse. But we rarely dream about how great our families could be. What would you wish for? What criteria might you use to help you create your ideal family?
Here is some criteria that I came up with to start talking about how I would create my ideal family.
- Intimacy & Bond: How close are we to each other? Can we share our deepest fears and dreams with each other? Can we have open conversations about everything? Do we trust each other?
- Fun & Humor: Are we lighthearted and joyous? Is it easy to forgive each other and have a laugh about our mistakes and failings?
- Recreation: Do we have hobbies as a family? What do we spend time on? How are the family holidays we take?
- Friends: Do we have a network of family friends that we enjoy? Do we have family activities with other families apart from our individual friends? How much time do we spend with extended family?
- Physical health: Are we staying healthy? What are our eating habits and rituals? Which restaurants do we love most and do we make sure we eat together at least twice a day?
- Financial stability: How do we provide for our family? Where do we make compromises and what are the effects of them? What is important around money for our family?
- Home environment: Do we enjoy where we live, how we live and our lifestyle?
- Relationship: How is our relationship individually with each family member and all together as a system? How do we cope when things get tough? What is the base of our relationship? Fear or love?
Your criteria might look different than mine. In fact, it could be a really powerful exercise to create a rubric with your family of the different criteria that are important to having the best family life possible. Wouldn’t that be interesting!
If we aren’t intentional about how we create our families, then we will revert to “default.” Default is some combination of how we were raised as kids and the current circumstances we are living in. My experience is that default is usually a less than fulfilled place to be.
Let’s do some intentional planning to create our dream families!
- Gonan Premfors
Image available under CC license by conorwithonen
- Finding the dream behind every complaint
- The Importance of Connection & Bond
- A Moment of Reflection
- Michael Moore’s High School Newspaper
- School Choice