Creating Family Culture with Mary Heard – Wednesday 18 November 2020 via Zoom

29 October 2020

During the past seven months we have all experienced the anxiety of uncertainty, threat of illness, financial and work stress and a restricted lifestyle but we have also experienced slowing down, simplifying, self-sufficiency and more family time. As we move into the transitional phase of the Coronavirus pandemic, we again need to take the initiative as parents to generate security, nourishment and inspiration in our family life. Our children need to know that good things can come out of this time and we can give them that reassurance by actively creating a family culture that reflects these values.

Our family culture is our ‘way of life’ and our family ‘customs’ which tend to be rhythmical activities shared by all family members. Anything we commit to and give a place in the family rhythm becomes important and will automatically take precedence over the unimportant things that are constantly demanding our attention. It is us creating the structure and focus of our family life rather than leaving it in the perilous hands of outside forces.

In the Zoom workshop on Wednesday 18 November we will be reviewing our family cultures to see how we can honour events we have already established as important and where we may need to create new events that can bring us closer as a family, and hold us together as we move into a still uncertain future. We will look at daily rhythms such as dinner times and bedtimes, weekly rhythms such as regular weekend activities and seasonal rhythms such as holidays and festivals. The more predictable we can make these for our children the happier and calmer they will feel knowing there are things in the world they can count on no matter what.

The most important thing about these rhythmical activities is that they are nurturing and fun for the parents as well as the children. They need to be areas of the family where everyone’s needs and wants overlap. It is important that at least some of them are fun things that we do for their own sake rather that to achieve anything or better ourselves in any way. A rhythmical weekend activity might be walking to the local coffee shop so that Mum or Dad can have a coffee while the children have some shared enjoyable time with the whole family and the local community. It might also be a couple of games of Uno every Friday night (maybe progressing to 500 as they get older) or a bushwalk every Sunday morning. If these activities are created as ‘not negotiable’ early in a child’s life they will not be questioned just as children don’t question the school bell ringing at 9am.

Rhythm gives our children a sense of ‘order’ in life. It creates a natural breathing in and out and gives them anchors of predictability to hold onto. The culture we create in or family tells our children that their family matters and that they matter because they are a part of that family, it is their first real sense of living in a community and it is an area where we have significant influence as parents.

I look forward to seeing members of the school community on Zoom at 7.30pm on Wednesday 18 November.


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