Habits – we either like the habits we see in our life or we wish they weren’t there. Habits are patterns of behaviour that are established by continual repetition – they are often acts we do without thinking.

 

But habits start some where – some time the first action was made, then the second, then the third and eventually it became a habit – something that didn’t need to be thought about. We know we have habits (good and bad) in our life, we see habits (good and bad) in our children’s lives but have you ever thought of the habits of your family?

 

Your family is a living entity – yes, it is made up of individuals but it has an identity of its own. Your family life will be governed by habits, just as our individual lives are – the question is, are they good habits or bad habits? A business corporation is often recognised by a symbol or an icon. What is your family recognised by?

 

Of course each family will reflect and express different habits but here are some foundational habits good for all families:

  • Involve God in your life – talk about Him, connect His truths to all that you do, read His Word together, pray together, study together, talk about your studies
  • Talk to each other – spend time listening to each other and encourage conversation. Encourage conversation that touches each others hearts – don’t settle for surface, flippant, silly fun (though this has its place; right place, right time) our interaction with each other must feed our souls and build each other up.
  • Practice Manners – Manners are taught and practiced in the home. Manners are a practical outworking of the respect we hold for each other. Our primary relationships (the family) must be in order, showing respect, love, self control, etc before we can develop these things in other relationships.
  • Serve together – When a family stretches out to other people, serving into other people’s needs you set the atmosphere in your home that it isn’t “all about me”, you establish the understanding that others count. (Serving each other is a good place to start, and then spread your wings wider and start serving the neighbour, the church, the community…)

 

How to Establish Habits

I read somewhere that bad habits are easy to break – you just drop them! I certainly don’t find it easy to break a habit but there are three steps that I work on:

  1. Identify the bad habit I want to let go
  2. Identify the good habit that I want to develop
  3. Practice, practice, practice the new habit

I also need to keep in mind that I can’t change everything all at once. When I work on one habit at a time I am more successful!

 

These steps will also help your family develop new positive habits:

1–Identify the bad habits you have let happen in your family life. The things that don’t work towards your family goals, the things that twist your gut when they happen, the things that you wish were otherwise. It is helpful to also identify the things that support this negative habit and the things that hinder change.

2–Identify the good habit you want to be established. Consider what that good habit looks like in reality in your home. It needs to be broken down, to be realistic considering the ages of your children and the lifestyle you practice. Refer to that list that hinder change and work through those things. When I connect a character trait with the new habit – it gives me some solid expression of what the heart can look like, not just good works.

3–Practice, practice, practice – changing a habit is a tough thing. It has been said if you can do something for 21 days straight you are on the way to developing a new habit. This is a good goal to work towards. 21 days of having a family meal together, 21 days of greeting each other in the morning, 21 days of praying for a family, 21 days of family devotions. 21 days….

Good habits result from resisting temptation~ Ancient Proverb

 

It isn’t easy to change habits, or establish new habits, we truly do need to resist temptation, especially the temptation to settle for the easy path, or to settle for what we are comfortable with. Establishing new habits in our family will take courage and commitment.

 

Our character is basically a composite of our habits.
Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns,
they constantly, daily, express our character.
~ Stephen Covey

 

What is the character of your family?

 

Over to you: Love to hear your comments on habits in your family – good or bad!

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