Family Vacation – a good Time to review Family Vision and Values

by | Jul 29, 2018 | Education, Family life | 0 comments

We spent the last three weeks as a family in the south of France.

These yearly vacations are of high value for us, as these are a couple of unique days to spend lots of time together, to experience many adventures as a family, to spend hours around the dinner table – with time to talk with our children, reflect on our lives, to examine patterns in us and our kids we need to review, to see our kids grow and mature right in front of our eyes and of course to have a good time splashing around in the relaxing pool in the garden.

As a family, we have a clear vision what we want our family to be. We grow into a blueprint as a family. We know the values we hold high. We know the truths we want to live by.

The understanding that greatly influenced our way of doing this, came through a book written by S.R. Covey, called “The 7 habits of highly effective Families” , the Author talks about how important a common vision for a family is. He writes about the seven important principles which help to create a successful and beautiful family culture.
The author himself has a family with 9 grown up children. He writes from his own experience, from what he learned by doing and how he – together with his wife – created a beautiful family culture.

The author states:

“To become a successful family, it takes every bit of combined energy, talent, desire, vision and determination you can muster.

Things you really care about take time, thought, planning and prioritizing. You have to work at it and make sacrifices; you have to want it and pay the price.”

In order to become this prosperous family, it is vital to have a clear vision, what you want for your family, what you want your family to be.

Any successful company has a clear vision of what they want to achieve.
They know what they do. They don’t wait on others to tell them what their vision is. They influence society with their brand (think about Coca Cola, IKEA or Microsoft) – they know what they stand for – they are that clear about it, that even we from the outside know it.

How much more, as foundation of this society, is it important for families to have a clear vision what they stand for?

Being aware of the importance of a clear vision, we use such vacations to ponder over the following questions:

  • What do we stand for?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • Where do we want to be in 5-10-15 years ahead?
  • What kind of family do we want to be?
  • What values are important to us?
  • What blueprint do we as family represent? 

A clear vision is vital for any family that wants to be successful.

A successful family does not “just happen”.

Life is busy.
And sometimes, life can be pretty complicated.

The Author states in his book:
“Whatever your situation, it is vitally important that you do not compare yourself to any other family. Many people think that other families are just about perfect while theirs is falling apart.”

This feeling of inadequacy and hopelessness hinders you to enter into something powerful.

“The wonderful thing is that this vision is greater than baggage. This means that a sense of what you can envision for the future – a better situation, a better state of being – is more powerful than whatever ugliness has accumulated in the past or whatever situation you are confronting in the present. “

This is not only true if you are a happy couple, dreaming about a happy family – it is also true for one parent that stands alone with the responsibility for his or her children as well as for grandparents who want to create a beautiful family culture inside the extended family.

For our family, everything we do is rooted deeply in this theory.

In our experience, knowing who we are as a family gives us great strength and authority.

It influences the decisions we take on a daily basis, the things we allow inside our family. It gives us a clear direction where to go.
And this is why we use our family vacations to talk and reinforce our values and our blueprint as a family.

To show you how we turn this theory into a practical way, I would like to show you a couple of examples we dealt with during our family vacations.

It is very important for us to honor each other. We as parents treat each other and our children in an honoring way. We never put them down. We never make sarcastic comments, laugh at them or make fun of them if they don’t know something. When we realize we wronged them by our impatience or because we interpreted a situation the wrong way – or even because we laughed about a situation, when the kid simply didn’t know better, we apologize immediately.

Because this is such a clear and spoken value in our home, we don’t accept behavior from our kids that goes against this value.
Conflicts are a normal part of (family) life. However, the way we treat each other in such conflicts makes the difference. Therefore, we teach our children how to fight.

“During our vacations, our pool was about 100meters away from our house. On the first few days, as soon as we had finished our time at the pool, the elder two ran home… leaving their younger brother behind, because he isn’t as fast yet. Each time the result was him crying, feeling left out and powerless, because his fast running was simply not enough to catch up.
This was one situation we discussed during dinner. We explained them what this behavior did to him, how much it would mean to him if they would wait. We talked about how we want to honor each other in our family and how we want to be a unity.
From that moment on, understanding this, the elder two waited on their brother to join them, and together, they ran ahead of us to the apartment.”

In another example, these kind of holidays help us to see our daily life from the outside and see things that need to be adjusted.
Life is busy, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed being this wife, mother, housewife, blogger, friend and the adventurous person I am. I realized how, many times, these roles summed up together, only to let me miss out the importance of our family and ignore my values. As a result, Benny and my kids only have leftovers of my time and attention.
Just as I cited the author above:

“To become this successful family, it takes every bit of combined energy, talent, desire, vision and determination you can muster.

Things you really care about take time, thought, planning and prioritizing. You have to work at it and make sacrifices; you have to want it and pay the price.”

In my situation, that doesn’t mean that I quit doing some of the things I am doing. It’s rather a matter of taking a decision to readjust my priorities.

This is highly related with the next observation we made during our vacation:
Two more values we want to cultivate in our family are empathy and kindness.
Empathy is the simple capacity to see life from the perspective of another person.

And to be honest, when I feel overwhelmed by the many other things I am doing, I lack this capacity with my family members – to be kind and emphatic.

During these vacations we could observe, once again, the importance of these two words.

Especially with our two smaller boys.

It made a huge difference to them every time we agreed to spend lots of time over details that weren’t as important to us.
Our two-year-old, for example, made a big deal out of his poo – no matter if he made it into his diaper or into the toilet. He wanted to see it – and for him it was the end of the world when we flushed it down the toilet immediately or when we closed the diaper before he could take a long look at it, proud and happy about what he saw there.

His brother who was often talking slowly and softly at the dinner table – and stopped immediately when his older siblings started to say something, or even when his baby brother started to say something. As we spent a lot of time around the table during our vacations, we realized this pattern and we started to help him get a chance to speak, trying to sensitize his siblings and help him to finish his sentence and be part of the discussions.

I know that there are plenty of these situations in every family.
For our family, the understanding of the difference of values and norms I explained in that article, together with the understanding of the importance of clear family vision and sorted out family values, helped us a lot to set priorities and to understand what we have to work. All of this greatly facilitates for us to take decisions set the path to go.

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