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Reinforce Family Values

A family sitting for a photo in the woods

One of the most difficult challenges that parenting presents is passing on family values. If you value health, then don't give your kids three scoops of ice cream for dessert every night. If you value community, share a meal around the table at least once a day. Engage in family activities that reinforce family identity, values, and mutual growth.

Activities drive behavior. Regular participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Adoration, Stations of the Cross and family prayer will help to cultivate a rich and meaningful interior life for your kids. Regular physical activities such as walking, hiking, or going on bike rides will help your children grow healthy and strong, but also reinforce the importance of taking care of one's body.

We need to be doing activities that foster mutual growth. Planning, preparing, and sharing family meals is one of the best ways to accomplish mutual growth. Kids learn the important skill of cooking, everyone will eat healthier, and the shared conversation at dinner reinforces in a child's mind that they're loved and valued. Spending time together reading each day will show your children that learning isn't just for school and that reading is the critical tool that will take them to the next level intellectually and professionally.

What we truly need to be doing is building a greater sense of family identity. Teach your kids about your heritage and expose them to different cultures. Make togetherness and connectedness staples of the family life. Make each other a priority over everything else. Parenting is a complex and multifaceted challenge. We have many things to juggle and important lessons to impart. If we start by reinforcing our family values, all other lessons and growth will flow forth.