Monday, September 15, 2008


Mostly, families are terrible at making decisions. Some try the big boss approach. Some use sweetness to control. Some make big discussions that go no where. Others make decisions that split the family into camps.

Why are decisions so tough? The main reason is that there are too many different ideas how decisions should get made, such as:

  • The leader decides.
  • Everything must have a full consensus vote.
  • Each person knows what is best for him/herself.
  • We do things the way our parents always did.

These views forget one big thing - the family is one - a living body. In that body are individual members with individual gifts and needs. To be a family requires honouring both the family unit and each member.

How do we do that and still get daily decisions on time and in time?

The answer is fairly simple. The family discusses the question, listens to the view of each, and then finds a way that works for all.

What is the payoff from this approach?

  • The whole family has decided together.
  • All were there and had their say.
  • All know how and why the decision was made.
  • Therefore, all have committed themselves to doing it.
  • It saves time spent in misunderstandings and disagreements.

Why is this not happening in most families?

  • Our parents haven’t the experience.
  • Our schools, churches and clubs don’t get it.
  • Our businesses and governments promote individual decisions.
  • We are all afraid to really trust our family.

It is going to take time before we realize that we are one first. We become great persons out of the oneness of the family. As Bill Bryson says, after his massive study of all world sciences, “We are One”.

Our families have many challenges they must meet over the course of their lives, and making decisions as a family has to be one of the greatest. How does your family meet this FAMILY CHALLENGE?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


There is a family that works hard, sees that kids do their best in school, keeps the house, car and themselves neat and clean. They are a tightly knit family, doing things together and keeping out of trouble.

There is another family that looks a bit weird. They, their children, house, car and yard never look neat or really clean. The house is noisy, untidy and dusty. The phone and the internet are on all the time. Nobody seems to have time for meals or social events. Each seems too busy at something.

The main business of this family is somewhere else. They are out volunteering, cleaning some creek or road, writing letters to the editor and asking neighbors to help at the local youth drop-in center.

For the first family, home is the center of life. It is safe and clean and everybody is working to keep it that way. For the other family the focus is somewhere else - the community or the world.

The first sees the family as the nest where folks are safe and each knows where he/she belongs. The second, home is like a military base camp, from which members’ spring into action.

The second family understands that families depend on the community for their resources and support. In their view, it is vital that the family makes its best contribution to the community. They see the first family as isolated and bordering on selfishness.

It is easy to see how each could have problems. The first could get ingrown, self centered and isolated from the community. The second could be doing so much good those family members get lost in the shuffle and neglected.

Obviously, both are right and each can be very wrong. So the right balance comes down to vision - how does the family see itself. Are they taking time to consider where they are going or are they so busy they are aimless?

This means that those that take family life seriously have a strategic job before they get themselves lost in their busyness.

Is your family looking out or in? Let’s hear from you on this FAMILY CHALLENGE.