Do you want to have a family filled with celebration and joyful intimacy? Start by becoming a straight “A” family. I’m not talking about grades. I’m talking about attitude. A truly happy
and healthy family exhibits four “A’s” in their attitude: Acceptance, Admiration, Appreciation, and Accountability. Don’t jump to any conclusions about your standing in these four “A’s.” Instead, take a moment to review the brief questions below to think about each of “A” and your family standing in relation to each one. You might find your family strong in each area. You might also find various areas where you would like to grow (I know I did).
- Do you accept each other’s different taste in music, food, clothing, TV shows, etc.?
- Do you take the time to learn about your spouse’s/children’s/parents’ interests, even if they are different than your own?
- Do you allow your five-year-old to leave home after dressing themselves in non-matching clothes or do you have to re-dress them? How about allowing your teen to get the haircut or hair color they desire?
- How do you let your spouse/children know you love them when you are angry or disappointed with their behavior or decision?
- Do you avoid comparisons?
- Name three things you admire about each of your parents.
- Name three things you admire about your spouse.
- Name three things you admire about each of your siblings.
- What attribute have you most recently admired in your spouse/children/parent?
- When did you last tell your spouse/children one thing you admire about them—today, yesterday, last week, last month? If it was last week or longer, better do it again.
- How often do you say “thank you” when you ask your spouse or children to do something?
- How do you mark the milestones and achievements of your spouse and children?
- How do you acknowledge the strengths of your spouse/children?
- Write down three different ways you can communicate appreciation to each family member?
- How did you teach your children to do their currently assigned chores?
- Do you practice the behaviors and values you want your family to emulate in areas of anger management, accepting responsibility for mistakes, apologizing, forgiving, politeness, etc.?
- Name two consequences you have used in the last month with your children. How did these consequences specifically teach the values you want to pass on to your family?
I see some areas of personal need as I write these questions. Although I’m not too upset (after all, family is a place of constant growth), I better get to work in order to improve. That will set a good example of accountability for my family as well. I also see areas in which I believe I do fairly well. How about you?