“If you can’t share it, you can’t have it.” This is one of our family scripts and I only have to start the first two words before my kids chime in together to finish it. We have other family quotes, “Do it right, or do it over” and “Speak words of life, not death.”
These sayings and the stories that accompany them are all a part of our family culture. They reinforce over and over again certain values and cement our family identity.
Family scripts are invaluable in creating community amongst a group of people. What do we stand for? And how does it compare with the messages of our larger society? How does our calendar and spending, our words and actions, reflect these values? Throughout biblical history, there have been creeds, truths memorized by a group of faithful believers to reinforce and remind them of what they believe to be true.
This is what we hold onto when circumstances challenge us to compromise. Todd and I are intentional about these life scripts, although he’s admittedly much better at it than I am.
Here’s a few from our list:
BE HUMBLE; BE A LEARNER. There is so much Todd and I have learned since 1997, when our Back2Back and parenting journey simultaneously began. We’ve learned another language, how to raise funds, how to parent children from hard places, how to listen to God’s voice, and how to be leaders, learners, and teachers. I endeavor for our children to see this I-don’t-know-it-all attitude as an example.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12
DON’T KICK SOMEONE WHILE THEY ARE DOWN. This came up at dinner tables and in
staff meetings. It was conversation when watching the news or sports. This is so ingrained in Todd that, as he grew in leadership over the years, I’ve watched him lean into hard stories, instead of more safely distancing himself. I pray our children, and the children we love around the world, grow up looking for how they can bring shalom to someone’s chaos.
Isaiah 35:3 (NASB)
Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
SHOW UP FOR EACH OTHER. Our children have watched Todd jump on airplanes for staff needs, work long hours, and still attend their school events. We want to be intentional about presence when absence is more expected. They’ve seen me take phone calls and put aside what I am doing for others in this me-culture. We are working hard at modeling a we-attitude.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
LAZY PEOPLE DON’T EAT. I feel like our children knew this biblical principle before they learned to sing the alphabet. It was important to Todd for our children to learn how to participate in meal prep and clean up, and see themselves as contributors in our household, not consumers.
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.2 Thessalonians 3:10
BE VOCAL ABOUT HOW YOU NEED GOD. I am working always on spiritual transparency. I don’t want our kids to think being a Christian means we are supposed to pretend to have it all together, but instead I hope they hear us regularly ask God for wisdom, discernment, self-control, mercy, patience, and peace.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5
DO IT RIGHT OR DO IT OVER. This has been written on countless worksite clipboards and made into a half-dozen T-shirt designs. My children know it applies to chores, homework, thank you notes, and apologies.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
GIVE AUTHORITY WHERE AUTHORITY IS. This means we obey whoever is in charge, wherever we are. Real leaders don’t have to have all the answers, but they just know
where to find them.
Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed.Romans 13:2 (ESV)
DON’T BACK DOWN FROM A CHALLENGE. Is it hard? Will it cost? If it’s worth the effort, then engage with all you’ve got. Success isn’t outcomes, it’s output.
I can do all things through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
Todd and I are actively learning both parenting and leadership aren’t things that you ever really “figure out.” It’s just a bunch of listening and discernment, hoping how God created us and how He fills us is enough for the task at hand.
These scripts simply remind us that at one point, truth hit us so hard that we decided to change the way we thought and lived. Some days, those memories and convictions can feel
weak, and we need to be reminded of who we want to be. Reckless faith is choosing to be disciplined.
REFLECTION: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. COLOSSIANS 3:23-24 (ESV)
- What scripts do you have?
- What truths have hit you hard and changed how you live?
- What does this truth tell you about yourself? Others? God?