21 January 2006

Family Roles

Rose paying her rent
Every family has to organise itself in a way that helps it achieve its various ends. Whatever the background of the mother and father, all families need to address these ends, some of which include:
  • the raising and education of children
  • providing shelter, food and clothing for its members
  • getting to heaven
  • contributing to the wider community
  • providing for the future (parents, grandparents and children)
There are many other aims and ends but these are the biggies. Every family has to make a decision how they will handle these ends. In some cases the decision is to make no decision and just see what happens. Most families make their choices either consciously or subconsiously. Many base it on what their parents or others have done, whilst others decide to try new ways.
How you allocate chores, arrange for the education of yourself and the children, earn and spend money, the entertainment you choose, the ways you spend your spare time and even the clothes you choose all reflect your choices.
And children aren't silly. They can sense the contradictions between words and actions. If you say one thing and do another the children may pay lip service to your words but will act the same as you. Scary, isn't it?
Early on we realised we had to be consistent. It was no point promising a treat or making a threat if we didn't follow through. We became much more careful in what we said and the words we used - especially when driving!
As we tell the children that we are a family, we spread the jobs across the family. Each of us has jobs and we all contribute in whatever way we can.
From the time each child is three months old they must supply one smile a day. That is their rent. (Rose has paid well in advance as the top photo shows!)
The sleep of the truly exhausted

Luckily a marriage is a union of two people, each with differing and typically complementary skills. Each has talents and time to commit to the family and unique perspectives to solve issues.
When the children are younger, the bulk of their care is shouldered by Lana. However as they grow I become more involved. Recently I have been the one to put Rose in bed. Whilst she may fight sleep longer if her mother is putting her in bed, when I put her in she surrenders and falls asleep very quickly. Rose has turned a corner!
The children all have tasks including washing their own clothes, making their beds, cleaning the table and kitchen, putting out the rubbish, emptying and filling the dishwasher and so on. All help from the oldest to the youngest.
The children are with us as we help our parents and others in our community, how we are involved in various groups and the ways in which the world comes into our home and we go into the world.
In all these ways the children are learning our values and the ways we intend to achieve the family ends mentioned above.

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