I have been hearing about a “truck stop” called Buc-ee’s for years. Some friends have gone on and on about the experience and how clean the bathrooms are. Recently, while passing through Daytona Beach, my wife, Michelle, and I made a pit stop at Buc-ee’s to see if all the hype was legit. To my surprise, it lived up to all the hype! I couldn’t believe how big, bright and clean it was. I don’t recommend stopping in if you’re in a hurry because if you go inside, you will be drawn into the atmosphere and the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, freshly brewed coffee, and endless choices of snacks and souvenirs. And yes, the bathrooms are the cleanest bathrooms you’ll find anywhere, especially for a truck stop. What makes the difference from all the other truck stops? I would be safe to say it’s the vision and values of the company to provide the friendliest, cleanest, in-stock experience you will find anywhere. It’s what drives the atmosphere and culture of the company and customer experience.
In many ways, the culture and atmosphere of our marriage and family are no different. Whether we realize it or not, every family values something. Your values may not be intentional, spoken or written, but all families have values, and your values are what dictate the atmosphere of your home.
Healthy cultures never happen by accident. Your family culture results from what you create and what you allow. You show me a strong, thriving, life-giving family, and I will show you a family unified around strong values.
Show me a negative, argumentative family that displays toxic behavior, and I will show you a family that is unclear and divided on what they value. After raising three children of our own and working with thousands of couples and parents over the past 30 years, I have realized that if you want a different culture and atmosphere for your marriage and family, change what you value. I can’t emphasize how important it is to lead your kids toward your values, as if everything depends upon it. Why? Because it does. Knowing who you want to become as a couple/family and what culture you want to build is the key to having a healthy, winning family.
How Do You Shift The Atmosphere of Your Home?
1. Be What You Want to See.
Identifying what your attitudes and actions say about your current values is essential. Remember, culture is almost impossible to teach because we must first be what we want to see regarding our attitude, tone, reactions and other behaviors. For example, if we wish for a more serving, supporting and cooperative atmosphere, we must find ways to serve and support each other. By doing this, we set a value of helping and supporting one another as a high priority in our home. As parents, we must first be what we want to see lived out by every family member.
2. Praise Participation.
I have a friend who is an animal trainer at SeaWorld. She explained why they always have a “treat” ready to give the animals when they perform and follow instructions. She said, “We give them treats after every trick because we know what gets rewarded gets repeated.” The same is true with us. Nothing deflates our motivation more than criticism, griping and complaining. However, when someone recognizes our performance with words of affirmation, praise and encouragement, it motivates us to keep giving and doing our best. To change the atmosphere in your home, make it your goal to catch your spouse or children doing something that reinforces what you desire to be. Remember, we must be what we want to see, and when we praise participation demonstrated by other family members, it inspires them to do more of what was praised and rewarded.
3. Never Stop Talking About It.
The atmosphere of your home is either by design or by default. If we want to design our marriage and family atmosphere to be what we want to see, we must repeat it constantly. Look for ways to reinforce, praise and model what you desire to be and who you desire to become as a family. Doing this will create an atmosphere that fosters a loving, supporting, close-knit family that will serve as a legacy we can pass from one generation to the next.
Rodney Gage is a family coach, author, speaker and the founding pastor of ReThink Life Church that meets at Lake Nona High School. His passion is to help families win at home and in life. To receive a FREE copy of one of his books, go to thedoublewinclub.com. To learn more about his marriage and parenting coaching, check out thewinningfamily.com and rethinklife.com